Protesters Denounce ICE Detentions in Upper Valley, Numerous Arrests Made

Aug 15, 2019

Protesters block the intersection of Maple Street and Hartford Avenue in Hartford, VT.
Credit Daniela Allee / NHPR

About 150 people gathered on Wednesday night in Hartford, Vermont, to protest arrests made by ICE.  Seventeen people in Hartford and Lebanon were detained by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement in late July and early August. 

Many chanted, "Say it loud, say it clear: immigrants are welcome here." 

This summer, the town of Hartford has been considering a "welcoming ordinance.” That would establish guidelines for when town employees, including the police, can communicate with federal authorities about a person’s citizenship or immigration status. 

Dalia Rodriguez is a Hanover resident and a part of Rise! Upper Valley, an activist organization. She says she and others were shocked when they heard these immigration arrests had happened.

“How can these people be arrested right under us, and not know,” Rodriguez said. “We have selectboard members say they want this place to be inclusive of all, and that literally just happened in the last two weeks.”

Alan Johnson is a member of the Hartford Selectboard and was at the protest. He says, after this, the next step is to focus on building support. 

"Once we regain that support for each other I'm sure we can tackle this issue in a way no one has realized yet,” he said. “I think Hartford can be a really powerful source for good against the tyranny of the Trump administration."

The activists are urging Hartford to pass the welcoming ordinance.  Twenty-six arrests were made at the protest in Hartford.