Immigration

On a recent morning, Irida Kakhtiranova was rolling out a ball of dough on the metallic table in the Unitarian church kitchen in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Protesters outside of the ICE complex in Williston. The agency operates a tip call center out of the facility that gets call from all over the country.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has roots here in Vermont, with a tip call center for suspected undocumented people located near a shopping center complex in Williston. VTDigger reporter Elizabeth Hewitt recently wrote about this ICE center in Chittenden County.

John Dillon / VPR

A longtime Vermont resident is scheduled to be deported Sunday back to his native Kenya. His family says they are the victims of President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration issues.

Ira Schwartz / AP

Recently, as my eight year old son was walking through the family room, I heard him chanting something unusual: “Build a Wall! Build a Wall!”

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., on Capitol Hill in April 2017.
Alex Brandon / AP

Vermont's Congressional delegation is condemning a U.S. Supreme Court decision that upholds the Trump Administration’s ban on travel from five predominantly Muslim countries.

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

In a 5-4 ruling that gave broad leeway to presidential authority, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Trump's travel ban that barred nearly all travelers from five mainly Muslim countries as well as North Korea and Venezuela.

The president's proclamation was "squarely within the scope of Presidential authority under the INA," the court wrote in its majority opinion, referring to the Immigration and Nationality Act.

"A moment of profound vindication"

A protester outside the White House in Washington, D.C., Thursday. Members of the Vermont House voted Friday to oppose a decision by the Trump Administration to separate children from undocumented parents at the border.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

The Vermont House has given its tri-partisan approval to a resolution that strongly opposes a decision by the Trump Administration to separate undocumented parents from their children along the Mexican border.

The group of soon-to-be new citizens Friday.
Ari Snider / VPR

Fifteen people became American citizens on Thursday afternoon during a naturalization ceremony at the Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington.

A Harvard brain scientist who studies trauma in children is warning of lasting damage to the young migrants who've been separated from their parents at the border.

Updated at 5:18 p.m. ET

President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to end his controversial policy that has resulted in thousands of family separations and brought criticism from Democrats and Republicans.

"We're going to keep families together but we still have to maintain toughness or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don't stand for and that we don't want," Trump said Wednesday morning, when he announced that he would sign the order.

Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is continuing to defend the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" policy that results in separating children from their parents who enter the U.S. illegally.

Nielsen appeared at the White House press briefing on Monday, falsely blaming Democrats for the current crisis and arguing that the impetus is on Congress to pass a law to close legal loopholes.

courtesy of Kate Hamilton, Office of Rep. Peter Welch

Rep. Peter Welch says children are being held in metal-fenced cages while many of their families seek asylum in the United States.

Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET

The Trump administration's decision to separate children from their families as a way to curb illegal immigration is adding fuel to an already fiery debate over immigration.

A group of House Democrats converged on an immigration detention facility in New Jersey on Sunday, days before a planned vote by House Republicans next week. Meanwhile, Trump administration officials alternately took credit and sought to distance the administration from the family separation policy.

The Swanton sector of U.S. Border Patrol covers nearly 300 miles of the U.S.-Canada border, including parts of New York and all of Vermont and New Hampshire.
Ryan Caron King / New England News Collaborative/file

Last week, John Pfeifer retired from his position as Chief Patrol Agent for the U.S. Border Patrol in the Swanton Sector.

A silhouette of John Nyembo walks against a blurry background in a black-and-white photograph
Célia Dehouche / Mediafugees, courtesy

The plights of people forced from their homes have been reported all over the world, but one journalist in Montreal has decided to tell these stories by creating a platform for the refugees to tell the stories themselves.

U.S. Border Patrol agent Richard Ross near the international border along Lake Memphremagog.
Lorne Matalon / VPR

Over the first weekend in April, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 20 people for entering the country illegally in Vermont, New Hampshire and New York.

The international border between Quebec, on the right, and the U.S. in Derby Line, Vermont. As the nation focuses on the southern border with Mexico, some people are concerned about the potential for terrorism coming to the U.S. from the northern border.
Lorne Matalon / VPR

Along the northern border where Vermont, New Hampshire and New York meet Canada, U.S. Customs and Border Protection pilot Gerhardt Perry routinely flies an infrared camera-equipped Cessna 206 on patrols that can last up to four hours.

Allan Monga had never given much thought to poetry before last summer, when he arrived in Maine as an asylum-seeker from Zambia.

At the time, he was almost completely alone, living at a teen shelter in Portland and nervous about speaking with anyone in his new country.

"It was really hard for me," says Monga, 19. "I didn't really know anyone. It was hard to trust anyone."

Faced with the threat of U.S. military action and prodded by longtime ally Russia, Syria declared in September 2013 — two years into its civil war — it had ratified the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention banning the production, storage and use of chemical weapons.

A letter from Syrian President Bashar Assad sent at the time to the United Nations' then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon promised that Syria would immediately comply with its CWC obligations.

Updated at 5:38 p.m. on Monday

The Trump administration retaliated Saturday against Syria's suspected chemical weapons attack, launching missiles with France and the U.K. targeting Syrian regime facilities.

"This is about humanity, and it cannot be allowed to happen," President Trump said earlier last week, pledging a forceful response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's aggressions.

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