Vermont Farmworker Jailed After Arrest by ICE | Off Message

Vermont Farmworker Jailed After Arrest by ICE


Alejandro Hernández-Ventura - COURTESY: MIGRANT JUSTICE
  • Courtesy: Migrant Justice
  • Alejandro Hernández-Ventura
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have arrested another Vermont farmworker, according to a statement released Friday by Migrant Justice.

Alejandro Hernández-Ventura, 25, was being held at the Strafford County, N.H., detention center in lieu of an $8,000 bond, the group said.

Shortly after leaving home on a dairy farm in Addison County on Sunday, according to an account from Migrant Justice, Hernández-Ventura and his wife noticed that their car was being followed. They pulled over after ICE officers flashed their vehicle lights. The agents pulled the Mexican man out of his car and handcuffed him before driving off.

According to Migrant Justice, Hernández-Ventura has never been arrested or had any previous contact with ICE during the nine years he's been in Vermont.

"As we denounce the unconscionable separation of families on the southern border, let us not forget the families torn apart by detention and deportation around the country, including here in Vermont," said Migrant Justice spokesperson Enrique Balcazar in the press release. "Alejandro must be freed and reunited with his wife and community."

Balcazar himself had been arrested by ICE last year, and a case against him is pending in immigration court.

Hernández-Ventura is represented by Enrique Mesa, an immigration lawyer based in New Hampshire, said Will Lambek, another Migrant Justice spokesperson.

No hearing has been scheduled. Mesa hopes to ask a judge to reduce the bond so that Hernández-Ventura can be released, Lambek added.

Last year, an immigration lawyer who represented several Migrant Justice members said his clients had been targeted by ICE because of their advocacy work.

Hernández-Ventura was involved with Migrant Justice in the past but "hasn't been very active in recent years," Lambek said. "We don't have any reason to suspect that his participation in Migrant Justice led to his arrest."

A Families Belong Together rally had been scheduled in Burlington on Saturday to protest the Trump administration's recently reversed policy of separating members of families who cross the border seeking asylum. That rally will also bring attention to Hernández-Ventura's arrest. It's set for 10 a.m. on Church Street.

More than 400 people have signed an online petition created by Migrant Justice to show support for Hernández-Ventura. 

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