Walters: Vermont House Approves Resolution Opposing Family Separation | Off Message

Walters: Vermont House Approves Resolution Opposing Family Separation


  • Vermont Legislature
  • Rep. Gary Viens
The state House approved a resolution Friday condemning the Trump administration's recently reversed policy of separating members of immigrant families who cross the border seeking asylum.

The resolution also expressed "a profound hope that the family separation policy will not be reinstated," and that federal authorities would reunite separated families "immediately."

The measure had 90 cosponsors. The final tally was 106 in favor and 17 against, with the dissenting votes all coming from Republicans. There was no floor debate before the vote, but some members rose to explain their votes afterward. The longest statement in opposition came from Rep. Gary Viens (R-Newport), a retired U.S. Border Patrol agent.

"Any time parents and children come to the United States illegally, they are processed," he said. "They have two choices: Family members can admit they crossed the border illegally and return home, or face detention and prosecution."

Viens continued, "It's terrible what's going on, but it was the parents' decision that led to the separation, not the government's."

The 16 other no votes came from Reps. Lynn Batchelor (R-Derby Line), Steve Beyor (R-Highgate Springs), Patrick Brennan (R-Colchester), Thomas Burditt (R-West Rutland), Bob Frenier (R-Chelsea), Doug Gage (R-Rutland City), Marianna Gamache (R-Swanton), Rodney Graham (R-Williamstown), Bob Helm (R-Fair Haven), Mark Higley (R-Lowell), Marcia Martel (R-Waterford), Constance Quimby (R-Concord), Carl Rosenquist (R-St. Albans), Brian Savage (R-Swanton), Brian Smith (R-Derby) and Warren Van Wyck (R-Ferrisburgh). 

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