The fate of Hartford, Vermont’s immigration policy will now be in the hands of voters.
The Hartford Selectboard decided on Tuesday to let voters determine whether to adopt an ordinance restricting town employees, including police officers, from sharing information about a person’s immigration or citizenship status with federal immigration authorities.
The decision has been a subject of intense public debate in Hartford since June, but there remains disagreement among board members over what exactly voters would cast ballots on.
The article that will be put before voters at Town Meeting on March 3 will read: “Shall the town of Hartford advise the Selectboard to adopt a fair and impartial policing ordinance to be known as the Welcoming Hartford Ordinance, drafted on Sept. 3, 2019.”
The ordinance does not include a savings clause that some town officials, including Town Manager Brannon Godfrey, said was necessary. They say without the clause, police and other town employees could be violating federal law and put the town’s federal funding at risk.
Immigration rights activists say the clause would weaken the document.