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Vt. bill aims to protect undocumented immigrants outside courthouses

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 3:51 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Immigrant rights groups are applauding the passage of a bill increasing protections for undocumented people in Vermont.

The bill awaiting Gov. Phil Scott’s signature would ban immigration officials from arresting undocumented Vermonters outside of or on their way to courthouses. Supporters of the bill say it’s aimed at making sure noncitizens can access the justice system, too.

Beto Sanchez with the group Migrant Justice was arrested at a courthouse in December and was detained for three months. “I get questioned about, if I need to go to court, can I go? Am I going to be arrested? Will I be released? What’s going to happen? I cannot say yes or no because I will feel guilty to say yes, go to the court and then they are arrested. So, I never have an answer,” Sanchez said through a translator.

Advocates say it’s difficult to quantify how often people are arrested at courthouses.

A spokesperson for the governor says that barring any legal issues in the bill, he plans to sign it into law.

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