Migrant farmworkers fight to end collaboration between Vermont police and Border Patrol

People hold up signs that say "Human Dignity/ Derechos Humanos" in support of migrant farmworkers in Vermont.

Dozens of people turned out at a rally in Newport in June of 2019 to protest the detention of three migrant farmworkers there. Farmworkers say a more recent traffic stop in Newport underscores the need for a strong fair and impartial policing policy in Vermont. (Peter Hirschfeld/VPR file photo)

A traffic stop in Newport, Vt., this past summer is intensifying concerns about collaboration between local police and federal immigration authorities. Now, migrant farmworkers in Vermont are calling on the state to do more to protect them from detention and deportation for minor traffic violations.

Migrant farmworkers have become a critical labor force for Vermont’s dairy industry, and though they’re often residing in the U.S. illegally, many have become active and longtime members of the rural communities they live in.

With those residents in mind, Vermont has enacted something called a “Fair and Impartial Policing policy.” It’s supposed to prevent state and local police from turning farmworkers over to federal immigration officials.

Body camera footage from a recent traffic stop in Newport, however, suggests some officers are disregarding that policy.

For the rest of the story, including video of the traffic stop and an audio version of this feature, visit VPR.org.