Advocates from across Vermont have been rallying for more than a week against the potential deportation of one of their leaders and friend.
In honor of International Workers Day (May 1), hundreds rallied again in Montpelier Sunday. They are showing support for 24-year-old Jose Victor Garcia-Diaz, a member of Migrant Justice.
“The right to migrate is a human right and we all have rights as people to be in the place we choose to be,” says Migrant Justice member Enrique Balcazar (translation from Will Lambek, Migrant Justice.)
Diaz has been detained at a detention center in New Hampshire since his arrest on April 21. A spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says the arrest stemmed from a D-U-I Diaz got in November, 2015. He is a Mexican citizen.
“To know Victor is being detained right now and the way he’s being treated is very unfair, it’s sad,” says Migrant Justice member Abel Luna.
Balcazar says like him, Diaz worked on a dairy farm in Vermont for years before joining Migrant Justice.
“He organized on his farm against poor conditions and wage theft,” says Balcazar.
ICE says Diaz will stay in custody, pending deportation proceedings. He has been living in Vermont since he was 19-year-old, according to Lambek.
“We demand he comes back to our community because we need his leaderships,” says Luna.
People marched from Montpelier High School to Vermont’s Statehouse Sunday in support of Diaz.