Large Protest in Vt. After Feds Arrest Immigrants

Burlington, Vt. - On Saturday a few hundred people gathered on Church Street in Burlington, protesting the recent arrests of two immigrants and one undocumented immigrant.

Two of the people arrested were active members of Migrant Justice, an immigrant rights organization led by dairy workers.

Protesters marched through downtown Burlington calling for the release of Enrique Balcazar and Zully Palacios.

"They have been arrested and detained, Kike and Zully were arrested yesterday and they have been held without communication and we haven't heard anything from them since they were arrested by immigration,” said Victor Diaz, Migrant Justice Vermont organizer.

According to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, on Friday federal agents conducted a targeted arrest of a female who entered the United States legally but overstayed her visa by nearly a year. Balcazar was with her and was also arrested after it was determined he was in violation of U.S. immigration laws.

Protesters took aim at the White House.

"Donald trump the president, we are not going to allow him to continue to separate our families, to continue to divide our communities and to continue to take our leaders we are not going to allow that,” said Abel Luna, Migrant Justice Vermont organizer.

On Wednesday 23 year-old Alexis Carrillo-Sanchez, a citizen of Mexico was also arrested following a targeted vehicle stop. According to officials, he claimed to have entered the United States illegally in 2010.

"Whether it is refugees or immigrants we need to become stronger together,” said Governor Phil Scott, (R) Vermont.

Scott weighed in on the issue at an event in Colchester. He considers it a federal matter, but one he is watching closely.

Scott said, "It has to be upfront and we need to figure out what is going on, the guidelines associated with that and so we are taking it seriously.”

Diaz was also detained about a year ago under similar circumstances.

Diaz said, "I feel a lot of anguish, anger and sadness to see my companions detained people who I have lived with, shared with and to see them taken away from me is terrible.”

Diaz says he and all the others who have rallied in support will not let up as there are several petitions circulating social media.

"We have networks all around the country who are writing in support of our detained friends and we are going to be sending that to ice who are going to start feeling the heat really soon,” said Diaz.

ICE officials say all three are being held pending 'removal proceedings'.

According to Migrant Justice, Enrique Balcazar is a member of Attorney General TJ Donovan’s recently formed Immigration Task Force. Donovan was not immediately available for comment on Saturday.


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