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Official Statement From Governor Phil Scott on Immigration


29 January 2017

Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott today issued the following statement:

"As I said when the President’s Executive Order was first issued, I am concerned and disappointed with the message it sends, and the actions it takes. I applaud the federal court’s decision to stay the removal of individuals in the United States – and here in Vermont – legally with Green Cards and Visas, to their countries of origin.  It’s one thing to express concern about foreign terrorist entry, it is something entirely different to remove people who enter this country legally, only because they are from certain countries.

The United States – and Vermont in particular – has a history of welcoming people of all cultures and backgrounds. For decades, Vermont has proudly and peacefully welcomed Somali, Vietnamese, Bosnian and Bhutanese families – and many others – through successful refugee and immigration programs.

Historically, immigrants and refugees have contributed to our culture and economy across the state. From French-Canadians in the north, to European settlers in Brattleboro. The Irish came to areas like Bellows Falls, Northfield, Rutland, Burlington and St. Albans to escape famine. Russian immigrants escaping persecution came to Burlington, and other areas. While they each faced many challenges upon their arrival, Swedish and Italian families led the growth of our granite industry in my home town of Barre. English, German and Russian immigrants helped work the mills and farms in areas like Poultney and Ludlow. Many from southern and eastern Europe contributed by starting businesses and filling jobs in Brattleboro, Burlington, Springfield and Windsor. Greek immigrants added to the culture of areas like Burlington, Barre and St. Albans. These are just a few examples of how immigration has shaped our state.

I can't imagine what Vermont, or our country, would look like today, had we refused to allow immigrants from all reaches of the world to experience this wonderful country the way most of us have, simply because they were not born here or didn’t share our exact religious view. As I have said, I’m going to do everything I can to protect the rights of all Vermonters and the human rights of all people – that includes standing up to executive orders from Washington that cross legal, ethical and moral lines that have distinguished America from the rest of the world for generations.”



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Vermont Farm Workers

I was curious about Vermont farms and immigrant labor and found a "VT Farm Worker Wage, Hour, and Housing Fact Sheet" - here are some highlights:


If you are providing housing on your farm to your workers (interns, domestic or migrant), housing must meet the Rental Housing Health Code.

Agricultural employers who provide housing to their employees may be entitled to an expedited eviction process under certain conditions.

- In order to qualify for the expedited eviction process the employer cannot charge the employee rent or require a security deposit. In exchange, the employer can evict the employee immediately when the employee‘s employment is terminated.

- If the employer chooses to charge rent or require a security deposit, the employer cannot evict the employee without giving him or her notice.

An employer may deduct from wages an allowance for meals and lodging actually furnished. This deduction would be considered rent and prohibit the employer from the expedited eviction process. (and the state sets rates)

Individuals employed in agriculture are exempt from Vermont’s minimum wage & overtime laws pursuant to 21 V.S.A. § 383.

Agricultural employees may be covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act & entitled to the Federal minimum wage if they are employed by a farm that used 500 or more “man days” of agricultural labor during any calendar quarter in the previous calendar year.

Vermont’s statutes regarding employment conditions & payment of wages do apply to agricultural employees.

Employers must provide employees with reasonable opportunities to eat and use toilet facilities during the work periods.

Agricultural Employees are required to be paid weekly or bi-weekly pursuant to 21 V.S.A. §342, and are required to be paid within 72 hours if discharged.

An employer may neither deduct from an employee’s wages, nor require an employee to pay, any amount for personal protective equipment required by occupational safety & health regulations, except as allowed by sections 1910.132(h) & 1926.95(d) of Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

It is unlawful for any employer to fire, demote, or otherwise discriminate against any employee who files a complaint with the Vermont Department of Labor or the United States Department of Labor.

Complaints of discrimination may be made to the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Unit. (888) 745-9195.


American “refugees” abroad // strident screening criteria here

It’s very difficult for poor Americans to be welcomed into other countries and remain there with some kind of “green card” type status or become citizens there. Except, obviously for wealthy people and other Americans who meet certain financial requirements. It is even uncertain whether American “refugees” under The Donald regime would be welcome.

I have no problem with continuing emigrant acceptance. Many of us know The Barry deported more immigrants than all the other presidents, though I am unfamiliar with that administration’s screening process.

That is the part I’m interested in. What is the screening process to allow or deny people from abroad? I am not in favor of letting people in or once in, without strident screening criteria, no matter what their circumstances may be.


what would I expect?

I was thinking along similar lines. If we are going to allow people to come here for a range of activities, what's the best way to do it?

So, I thought about what I'd want or expect if I was, say, an immigrant to Canada.

First, I'm assuming things here are intolerable and I have to go somewhere. So I choose the closest neighbor.

Assuming I'm going to stay and work, I'd expect that I would need to register somewhere - perhaps some labor office - so they could help place me in a job that I'm either good at, or is something needed. I would expect that I might not be able to do my current work there, since I'd be competing with locals.

I'd hope to be paid, and if taxes were taken, I'd hope that I'd get whatever other taxpayers get as well.

I don't think I should be allowed to pick a place and go set up shop. That seems potentially disruptive. If Canada had some sort of plan for people like me, I'd expect to follow it.

I'd expect some guidance as to where to move, and how to start being Canadian. If Vancouver has too many animating web artists, I'd expect them to place me elsewhere.

If I were really escaping, I'd want to know what I had to do to eventually become a citizen.

Ideally, this sort of arrangement would apply no matter where in the world I wanted to move. : )

Now, if I'm just going for a drive and quick visit, I think showing an ID, taking a photo of my license plate, and asking me where I'm going is enough. If they want to run a quick check to see if I have outstanding warrants, that would seem fair. Passports seem extreme.


Details of Gov. Scott's Response to Federal Executive Order


30 January 2017
Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today announced a series of steps his Administration is taking to protect the rights of all Vermonters, following executive orders from President Trump relating to immigration and refugee resettlement.

“As Governor, I will stand up for the rights and civil liberties of all those in our State, and the rights of the State of Vermont,” Gov. Scott said. “Vermont will continue to uphold the laws of our State and nation, but we will not be forced to take any action that we believe violates Constitutional rights, or infringes upon the rights of Vermont as a sovereign state. We are a nation of United States – a constitutional republic made up of individually governed states empowering three equal branches of government to act on our behalf – not one nation-state governed exclusively by a President.”

Governor Scott said his Administration – in conjunction and consultation with partners across State and local government and Vermont’s Congressional delegation – are pursuing the following action steps to ensure the State is doing its part to defend and protect the Constitution, and the civil rights and safety of all Vermonters:

1. The Governor has directed his legal counsel to coordinate with the Vermont Attorney General’s office – and other states – to assess the constitutionality of the executive orders, specifically the impact of the broad policy proclamations contained in the border security and immigration enforcement orders on the Fourth and Tenth Amendments, for the purpose of exploring a legal challenge to the orders.

2. The Governor will immediately convene a Civil Rights and Criminal Justice Cabinet, charged with further review of the Executive Orders. The Civil Rights and Criminal Justice Cabinet will identify areas that are not in compliance with current state or Constitutional law and make recommendations to the Governor. This Cabinet will include the Governor’s legal counsel, Secretary of Human Services, Secretary of Agriculture, Commissioner of Public Safety, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Senate Pro Tem, House Speaker, State’s Attorneys Office Executive Director, Defender General, a mayor designated by the Vermont Mayor’s Coalition, and representative leaders from the Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police, and Vermont Sheriffs’ Association.

3. The Governor will elect not to enter the agreements suggested under the border security and immigration enforcement orders, which ask Governors and local officials to carry out immigration enforcement functions. Further, he will seek legislation and support from lawmakers to prohibit local officials from entering such agreements with the Federal government. This action will not prohibit law enforcement officers’ ability to uphold the law, but it will ensure they are not carrying out additional actions under the executive order that may ultimately be deemed unconstitutional or infringe on the rights of Vermonters or the rights of Vermont as a sovereign State.

4. The Administration is reaching out to the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security for further clarification on each of these orders, and how they relate to Vermont’s sizable refugee and immigrant populations.

5. The Administration is coordinating with refugee program administrators and stakeholders within impacted industries to keep them informed on its efforts, address concerns, and communicate impact.

“I believe these executive orders extend beyond the concerns we all have for preventing foreign terrorists from entering the country and reducing illegal immigration,” added Gov. Scott “These orders have the potential to erode civil liberties and states’ rights that we are all afforded by the Constitution. I will continue to work with state and federal partners to protect our state’s values, and to uphold legal, ethical and moral standards – and the Constitutional rights and liberties – that have distinguished America from the rest of the world for generations.”



The new Governor

Looks like a pretty good Vermont response, considering how much is in flux and changing every hour.


Legislation that helps safeguard Constitutional rights


09 February 2017
Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott, in collaboration with Attorney General TJ Donovan, today introduced legislation that helps safeguard the Constitutional rights of Vermonters, ensures the State of Vermont takes a unified position when dealing with the Federal Government, and supports law enforcement in its continued compliance with federal law.

Joined by Attorney General TJ Donovan, Senate Pro Tem Tim Ashe, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, Sen. Dick Sears, co-sponsors of the legislation, and members of the Governor’s Civil Rights and Criminal Justice Cabinet, Gov. Scott introduced legislation to address concerns over Federal Government overreach, including its stated policy to request State and local law enforcement agencies perform immigration enforcement functions under the direction and supervision of the Federal Department of Homeland Security, and at the State’s expense.

“Despite how you may feel about the contents of the President’s Executive Orders, it is increasingly clear that many elements in the orders have the potential to violate the Constitutional rights of American citizens, and infringe on States’ rights afforded by the Tenth Amendment,” said Gov. Scott. “This legislation serves to protect Vermont and Vermonters against some of these potential violations, and to reassure our communities and citizens of their safety, and security here in Vermont.”

The legislation stipulates that the decision of whether to take on immigration enforcement functions of the Federal Government rests in the hands of the Governor. Further, it aims to promote public safety by protecting Vermont residents from collection and dissemination of personally identifying information for the purposes of establishing a mandatory federal registry or database.

Specifically, the bill defines this personally identifiable information to include sex, gender orientation, gender identity, marital status, race, color, religion, national origin, immigration status, age or disability. The bill prohibits collection of information regarding religious beliefs, practices or affiliation for the purposes of a registry, and the use of State or local resources to assist in creating or enforcing any federal program for the purposes of a registry.

The bill was written to ensure compliance with federal law and the legitimate State interest in promoting a State and communities where residents feel free to engage with law enforcement and other government authorities without being singled out based on protected characteristics.

During a Thursday press conference, Gov. Scott explained, “this bill has been carefully crafted through a consensus building process to confirm Vermont remains compliant with federal law, that we would not be established as a ‘sanctuary state,’ and to address the needs and recommendations of our law enforcement partners.”

“This legislation codifies what is best about Vermont – protecting individual freedoms and policing at the local level – Vermonters protecting Vermonters,” said Attorney General Donovan.

The legislation was developed by the Office of the Governor and Attorney General’s Office, with consensus from lawmakers and the Governor’s Civil Rights and Criminal Justice Cabinet, which includes stakeholders from the Vermont Department of Public Safety, Sheriffs’ Association, Association of Chiefs of Police, State’s Attorneys and Sheriff’s Offices, Office of the Defender General, and Agencies of Transportation, Agriculture and Human Services.



Then, at the border...

Of course, we now have the story of a woman from Canada coming shopping in Vermont:

"Alaoui – who wears a hijab – said border officials asked her several questions about her faith. “He said ‘Do you practice? Which mosque do you go to? What is the name of the imam? How often do you go to the mosque? What kind of discussions do you hear in the mosque? Does the imam talk to you directly?’”

She said they also examined her phone and asked questions about Arabic videos on the device. Alaoui told them they were videos of daily prayers she had received from friends, to help her and her son as he went through chemo. An agent later explained that the videos were why she was being blocked from entry.

“I felt humiliated, treated as if I was less than nothing. It’s as if I wasn’t Canadian,” she told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.:


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