Migrant Justice protests unlawful detainment of farm worker

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Dozens of people set up with signs outside of the Chittenden County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday to stand in solidarity with migrant dairy farm worker Luis Ulloa.

“We want justice for Luis, said Enrique Balcazar,” of Migrant Justice. “That’s why we’re here today to demand justice and accountability for those who have violated the policy.”

Ulloa is 21 years old, he’s been working on farms in Vermont and New York for the past four years. According to Migrant Justice, on November 22nd, the car Ulloa was riding in was stopped by a deputy for speeding. After seeing Luis Ulloa present a Mexican passport, passengers say they were held on the side of Interstate 89 for almost 2 hours until border patrol officers could arrive.

“And rip Luis away from his friends, his family, pull him out of the car and detain him.”

Ulloa is currently being held at a detention facility in Dover, New Hampshire. Migrant Justice said this violates the departments Fair and Impartial Policing Policy which says police shouldn’t prolong stops for the purpose of letting federal immigration authorities intervene.

“Many of us live in fear everyday because we know that the police are not following the policies we fought to put in place.”

Sheriff Kevin McLaughlin released a statement Monday afternoon, saying in part:

“Deputy Sheriff Jeffrey Turner believed he had reasonable suspicion based on a totality of the circumstances, that there had been a violation of federal criminal laws by some of the occupants. It is my belief that his decision to involve federal authorities is consistent with the provisions of that policy.”

In response, Migrant Justice wants a more transparent investigation, calling for accountability of the officers involved.

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