Immigration

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.

Activists across the country say they are being targeted by federal immigration authorities for speaking out at protests and accusing the government of heavy-handed tactics.

The Trump administration has warned that anyone in the country illegally could be arrested and deported under tough new enforcement rules. And federal officials deny allegations of retaliation.

But the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups say they have documented two dozen cases of immigrant activists and volunteers who say they have been arrested or face fines for their work.

How U.S. Customs Officers Are Trained

Mar 15, 2018

It looks just like an airport customs checkpoint.

Role players wait in lines, each playing different travelers that a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer is likely to encounter. Some may be playing the role of refugee, others are told to act as though they’re hiding something sinister.

The actors have detailed instructions, like to smile and flirt with the CBP trainee, or their script may call for them to avoid eye contact, bite their nails, and appear to be nervous.

In July 2017, Iglesias de Dios Pentecostal Church in New Haven swarmed with national press, protesters, Connecticut’s U.S. Senators and Governor Dannel Malloy.

Will Lambek, left, and Enrique Balcazar, with Migrant Justice, say the new fair and impartial policing policy opens to door to increased collaboration between local police and federal immigration authorities.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Migrant farmworkers say a new policy to encourage bias-free policing in Vermont could actually end up increasing cooperation between state law enforcement agencies and federal immigration authorities.

All three members of Vermont's Congressional delegation voted for the January 2018 federal government shutdown, citing concerns over DACA recipients, the so-called "dreamers" of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Scott Kirkwood / National Parks Conservation Association

Elizabeth Hewitt covers Washington, D.C. politics for VTDigger. She was covering the Capitol as Vermont's Congressional delegation voted for what ultimately became a three-day shutdown of the federal government.

Image of downtown Burlington, Vermont from above.
DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com

The U.S. Department of Justice is demanding the city of Burlington hand over documents about how local law enforcement communicate with federal immigration authorities.

Juan Conde, a first-year medical student at UVM, speaks to reporters about how the DACA program allowed him to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR

As Congress debates immigration legislation, there's ongoing uncertainty for a group of immigrants who've received protections under the program known as DACA.

Abel Luna leads protestors in a chant outside the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility where one of the dairy workers is being held.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR

On Thursday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained 14 undocumented workers who were part of a construction crew staying at the Days Inn in Colchester.

Canadian police have set up a tent with a generator, portable toilets and plenty of tables and chairs for the asylum-seekers to begin filling out paperwork.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR

As Temporary Protected Status (TPS) ends for about 200,000 Salvadorans living in the U.S., some may venture to Quebec, following other groups who have also lost protections under the Trump administration.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, pictured here at a Senate Budget Committee hearing back on Nov. 28, 2017,
Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is encouraging Democrats to withhold support of any proposed Republican budget agreement unless it includes provisions to protect essential domestic programs and provides legal status to the children of undocumented workers, often known as "Dreamers."

6,000 Salvadorans In Mass. Will Lose Protected Status

Jan 8, 2018

The Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that it will not renew Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans.

The temporary immigration status has allowed Salvadorans to stay and work without fear of deportation in the United States in the wake of devastating back-to-back earthquakes that hit the Central American country in 2001.

West Addison dairy farmer Rob Hunt has employed migrant workers for more than a decade. He says they have been vital to the success of his operation., and he's worried about their future.
John Dillon / VPR

An escalation in immigration enforcement over the past year has brought a new level of anxiety for the several thousand migrant farm workers living in Vermont.

When a local sheriff in northern Vermont pulled over two Mexican farmworkers last August for a traffic violation, he immediately called for the U.S. Border Patrol.

The ACLU of New Hampshire says the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints on Interstate 93 this summer staged far inland from the Canadian border violated the state’s Constitution.

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