Vermont’s top federal prosecutor says she is unaware of any immigrant families being separated at the state’s border with Canada.
A Vermonter asked Local 22 & Local 44 News to find out how the U.S. Attorney General’s zero tolerance policy was affecting the Green Mountain State.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to stop the forced separation of immigrant families at the U.S./Mexico border.
The White House’s zero-tolerance illegal immigration policy caused the separations.
Thousands of children have been taken from their parents and placed in shelters.
Earlier this week, the president blamed democrats and said it would be up to Congress to stop the separations.
“I cannot remember a case where we prosecuted an adult that resulted in the child being taken away from that adult,” said Christina Nolan, U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont. “That’s not to say that we never see family crossings or children come with adults over the Vermont/Canadian border. It does happen. It’s a much rarer occurrence than on the southern border.”
Nolan explains illegal crossings at the northern border tend to be more premeditated than at the southern border.
Many times, people fly into Canada to cross illegally into the U.S. and, Nolan says, people are less likely to bring children in that scenario.
Two Mexican nationals are facing federal charges, accused of bringing undocumented immigrants illegally into Vermont.
Prosecutors say it happened at Letourneau’s Field in Derby Line, Vt. just after midnight on June 13.
Letourneau’s Field hugs the Canadian border.
“This area has been frequently utilized in the past by organizations/individuals for illegal transporting contraband between the United States and Canada,” the criminal complaint reads.
According to court documents, Noe Cano-Martinez organized a group of people to illegally cross the border at Letourneau’s Field.
Agents found Cano-Martinez, plus six other Mexicans, in the Derby Line area, according to the criminal complaint.
One of the immigrants told police he had paid Cano-Martinez $350 in advance and was supposed to pay an additional $3,000 upon entry into the United States.
Cano-Martinez told police, once at the border, Cano-Martinez told him to “follow him and not make any noise.”
Nolan declined to comment on this case specifically but said prosecuting smuggling is a priority.
“There are sophisticated smuggling organizations that operate across the Canadian/Vermont border and we prioritize prosecution of those smuggling organizations. These are organizations that smuggle people and contraband into the country,” she said.
Nolan told Local 22 & Local 44 News, her office considers criminal records and whether someone is a repeat crosser when deciding to prosecute someone who crosses illegally.