Two Migrant Activists Back In Vermont After Being Released On Bail By Federal Judge

Mar 28, 2017

Two Vermont immigration rights' activists who were arrested by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents were released on bail Tuesday and are back in Vermont. A third was denied bail by a federal immigration judge in a Boston court Monday.

The mood outside the courtroom was decidedly somber after the bail hearings for three Vermont activists concluded on Monday.

Many of the more than 100 people who had been loudly chanting earlier in the day had dispersed, but a few dozen folks gathered around the activists' attorney, Matt Cameron.

"This is a very hard day for all of us, because we didn't have a complete win," Cameron said. "Alex Carrillo is still in custody — and I'm very sorry to say that."

Alex Carrillo-Sanchez has worked as a dairy worker in Vermont for the past seven years. He's married to a U.S. citizen with whom he has a 4-year-old daughter.

Carrillo-Sanchez was charged with a DUI in 2016, which the state dismissed last week. But on Monday, a federal immigration judge ruled that Carrillo-Sanchez was still a possible safety risk.

The judge made the decision after hearing evidence from the police report indicating that Carrillo-Sanchez had driven his car 30 feet off the curb and into the grass, and that his blood alcohol content was higher than 0.1.

The judge denied Carrillo release on bail.

Protesters gathered outside the federal court house in Boston on Monday.
Credit Jesse Costa / WBUR

Even before hearing this news, Carrillo's wife, Lymarie Deida, who was outside with the protestors, was distraught that her husband had been arrested.

"Because of this new Trump law, you're guilty until proven innocent, and they don't care if they have families," Deida said. "They don’t care if they're loved by the community — they're just after people."

Deida is referring to a recent executive order by the Trump administration that significantly widens the net of people ICE are prioritizing for deportation — including those who have been charged with a criminal offense, but not convicted.

Deida says it has been particularly difficult on her 4-year-old daughter:

"She knows daddy is in jail, of course she's seen the news," she said. "It's just heartbreaking, because Enrique ["Kike" Belcazar] is actually her uncle, so ... after they detained Enrique, she said to me, 'Mommy, are they going to take you too?'"

Deida, a U.S. citizen, says she and her husband are in the process of filling paperwork for him to get a green card through his marriage to her.

Back in the courtroom, where recording devices were not allowed, the judge also heard arguments about Migrant Justice activists Enrique Balcazar and Zully Palacios, who were arrested last week in Burlington.

ICE representatives said in an email that Palacios was arrested because she had overstayed her visa by about eight months. And they arrested Balcazar because he was also in the car, and is living in the U.S. without documentation.

Neither person has a criminal record. The judge set a bail of $2,500 each for the two activists.

Migrant Justice says the bails were paid by an anonymous donor.

Balcazar and Palacios returned to Vermont this evening where they await the next hearing.

This report comes from the New England News Collaborative: eight public media companies coming together to tell the story of a changing region, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.