Our Opinion: Stand up to bullying
The arrest of three undocumented migrant workers last week in Vermont by federal immigration officials is cause for great concern.
The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, denied targeting the three men, members of the group Migrant Justice, for their public advocacy of migrant rights and their opposition to the Trump administration's policy of rounding up and deporting undocumented workers.
Gov. Phil Scott and Attorney General TJ Donovan have rightly stood up to Trump and affirmed that Vermont will not allow itself to be conscripted into assisting the federal government in implementing this cruel, useless policy. And our Congressional delegation is asking the right questions of the feds about how and why this happened.
Donovan told VTDigger he sees no evidence that ICE is targeting activists and he would not speculate about the agencies' motivation until he has more information.
But knowing what we know about Trump's thin skin and his chief advisor Steve Bannon's xenophobic worldview, it's not much of a stretch to imagine this was straight-up payback, intended to show Vermonters and their leaders who's the boss around here.
That should make you very uncomfortable and very angry.
Undocumented workers have already risked much to be here. They are willing to work hard and endure hardships you wouldn't put up with for a day for the promise of something better than what they left behind. They do the jobs that the rest of us won't do, in agriculture, waste management and food service, for not a lot of money and not very much in the way of legal protections.
To be clear, this country needs a cohesive. rational immigration policy. Not a revolving door with porous borders and no consequences for flouting the law; and not a police state that assumes all undocumented workers are criminals.
Instead, we get unconstitutional executive orders and the suspicious coincidence of migrant workers who happen to be activists being jailed.
So it's up to all of us to protect that human dignity and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. It's up to all of us to stand up for human dignity and decency.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.