Richmond Selectboard passes resolution advancing sanctuary policies on illegals

By John Ely | Community News Service

At a virtual meeting on Jan. 19, Richmond’s Select Board introduced a new resolution on law enforcement policy with a sweeping statement of the town’s ideals.

“Richmond [Select Board] seeks to support and pursue the vision of the United States Declaration of Independence, which founded our Nation on the principles that all men are created equal,” begins the resolution in support of an updated Fair and Impartial Policing Policy. “Policies are important statements of who we are as a community.”

The resolution limits cooperation between local police and federal immigration authorities. It also stipulates that police may not ask about individuals’ immigration status, closing what some saw as a loophole in statewide policy.

Wikimedia Commons/Magicpiano

Richmond, Vermont Town Hall

Statewide FIPP rules forbid law enforcement from “biased policing,” but local group Richmond Racial Equity has argued that loopholes put undocumented migrant workers at risk. RRE has been working with immigrant rights organizers from Burlington’s Migrant Justice to advocate for tighter local policies.

“We believe that immigration policy is not a part of what our police force does,” read a working group statement released in December. A previous Select Board meeting on Jan. 4 focused primarily on who has the power to implement such decisions. An attorney for the Select Board argued that the police department has the final say. RRE and a lawyer from the Vermont chapter of the National Lawyers Guild responded that the Select Board holds that responsibility.

Acting Police Chief Kyle Kapitanski has said he’d adopt proposed policy changes, but the Select Board did not establish that such compliance is mandatory, now or in the future. “We would have loved to have had a Select Board actually, say, we’re putting this policy in place and the police chief has to implement it,” said RRE founding member Ann Naumann. “Instead they said ‘we would leave this policy and we’ve convinced the police chief to implement it, basically.’”

The Select Board made a unanimous decision to hand the new resolution to Acting Chief of Police Kapitanski. Community members attending the virtual meeting broke into cheers, and Nauman addressed the group. “I just want to thank our Select Board, our Acting Police Chief, and Josh, our Town Manager, for all their hard work on this,” she said. “I’m very, very proud of our town for doing this.”

The Community News Service is part of the Reporting and Documentary Storytelling Program at the University of Vermont.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Magicpiano

4 thoughts on “Richmond Selectboard passes resolution advancing sanctuary policies on illegals

  1. That will come back to bite them in the ass. They should go walk about in Lewiston ME and see how that worked out for them.

  2. Interesting how easy of a pushover these selectboards are. They don’t like to comply with federal laws but they like the federal handouts. As far as the police chief goes, it sounds like he’s a yes man.

  3. If you don’t like our immmigration laws, then advocate for changing the laws. Ignoring the fact that laws are being broken and hand cuffing police to prevent them from enforcing the laws is just plain wrong. How do you operate an immigration system with one group required to wait in line, jump through all of the bureaucratic hoops, etc. and the other just runs across the border, takes up residency, and eventually is granted amnesty? I know that it is inconvenient, but this BS of ignoring laws that you don’t like can only lead to more problems and, in this case, the likely abuse of the illegal immigrants. I understand that we need workers for the jobs that lazy Americans won’t do, but Vermont’s useless delegation to Washington has known this for decades and has done absolutey nothing to correct the problem or devise a system to bring workers onto the job legally.

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