Protesters: "No Human is Illegal"

In Greenfield on July 20 about 100 people attended a rally for immigrant rights. The rally was outside Greenfield's federal jail for undocumented immigrants. Two groups organized the event. They have web sites at www.jwj.org and www.pvWorkersCenter.org.

It's easy for people from Mexico to enter Canada legally. The number of undocumented people from Mexico entering Vermont from Canada has increased dramatically this year as Trump makes it harder for undocumented people to cross the USA-Mexico border. The Vermont-Canada border is much easier for undocumented people to cross.

On July 21 activists who have a web site at www.migrantjustice.net wrote, "Alejandro Hernandez is free and back in Vermont! After nearly a month in detention, he has been reunited with his wife and community. His liberation is due to the thousands who marched, rallied, and wrote letters denouncing his arrest and demanding his freedom."

"Alejandro has lived in Vermont for the last ten years, laboring on dairy farms to send money to his family. As he was driving away from his farm, Alejandro was pulled out of his car by undercover, armed ICE agents and arrested in front of his wife. After being held for weeks in an ICE prison on $14,000 bail, he finally had his day in court. A judge reviewed the more than 1,200 letters written in his support -- including a letter from the state's congressional delegation -- and drastically lowered his bail to $3,500."

"Alejandro is free but many more remain behind bars, and Trump's deportation machine continues to lock up more immigrants every day. In Vermont, we see an average of one immigrant farm worker arrested every week by ICE or Border Patrol."

In other news from the Valley, in 2016, workers in the Valley walked off the job for 49 days as they joined the biggest strike in the USA in five years. They work for Verizon. Community supporters joined them on picket lines in Springfield and in Hadley, Massachusetts, near Amherst. The strike ended with a major victory for the 39,000 or so striking workers. Their wages increased by 11 percent. On July 18, 2018, the workers said on their web site www.cwa-union.org that, “We're thrilled to announce that we've come to a tentative agreement with Verizon on a four-year contract extension that will greatly build on our 2016 gains, including a wage increase of 11.2 percent over the life of the extension. The original contract was set to expire in August 2019; the extension will set a new expiration date of August 5, 2023.”

So by the end of their current union contract, the workers will have won a 22 percent raise since they went on strike.

In other news from the Valley, on July 17, 2018 the Valley Post reported that in the past 17 years Brattleboro police have killed people at a much higher rate than the national average. The full article is at:

www.valleypost.org/node/1415

Zach Phillips runs the National Police Accountability Project. That's part of the National Lawyers Guild. In a telephone interview on July 20, Phillips said of the July 17 Valley Post article, "The sample size is small but it's still a valid point."

Paul Wright is the director of the Human Rights Defense Center. The Center's board includes an MIT professor and lawyers in Colorado and Massachusetts. In a telephone interview on July 24, Wright said of the Post's July 17 article, “The past 17 years is a good amount of time to look at.”

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