Several hundred march against Vermont cooperation with ICE detention centers

“NO BORDERS, NO WALLS!”: Marchers by the hundreds chanted “No KKK, no fascist USA, no ICE” as they moved around Williston calling for an end to the “concentration camps” at the southern border.

WILLISTON — Several hundred protesters took to the streets of Williston on Sunday afternoon to express their opposition to immigration detentions and any cooperation between Vermont and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The demonstrators began their march around 3 p.m. at Vermont Technical College before moving along to an office building that takes tips to help federal immigration officials respond to illegal immigration activity.

Rachel Siegel, executive director for the Peace and Justice Center, said the demonstration was organized to oppose local activities that help enforce U.S. immigration laws.

“It’s not this specific campus, but Vermont Tech [Vermont Technical College] as a whole had a contract with ICE and they benefited financially off of ICE as an institution, and we are opposed people profiting off the work that ICE does,” she said. “They don’t have a contract currently, but they haven’t disavowed themselves from doing it in the future again.”

She said while the protesters may have differences on the issue of having immigration enforcement, most agree on closing down detention centers that hold illegal immigrants while they are being processed in the immigration system.

Michael Bielawski/TNR

This protester, who is dressed up as a chicken, is expressing the view that children held in detainment centers are being treated like animals.

“There are some basic common denominators which everyone agrees, which is to close the camps and reunited the families,” Siegel said.

Speakers at the march included Beverly Little Thunder, an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Lakota Band from North Dakota and a board member for the Peace and Justice Center. She opened her speech by stating that part of Williston is occupied land which was stolen from the Abenaki Native Americans.

“What’s going on right now down in the South is not new,” she said. “The government has had a long history of separating families and taking children away.”

The angst behind the protest has been fueled in part by purported photographs of children in “cages” eventually linked to detainment facilities run under the Obama administration.

Speaking about the plain office building being used by the Department of Homeland Security, Beverly Little Thunder suggested that the workers aiding federal law enforcement were in some sense committing atrocities.

“It’s like a virus that kind of snuck into our communities,” she said. “When they built this building, they didn’t say what they were building. There are not even signs identifying the building — you could just drive by it and not know the horror that was being implemented inside these walls.”

Yolana Huerta, a speaker who has lived in the Mexican neighborhoods of East Los Angeles, said she has lived through numerous ICE raids aimed at stopping illegal immigrants. She also blasted the detention centers, claiming they lacked basic necessities.

“Many of us are here because we have seen graphic images of kids packed in cages. We’ve heard that ICE agents don’t think that ICE agents think toothpaste and toothbrushes are a necessity,” she said.

Other visitors to the centers have contradicted the claims that the facilities lack basic necessities.

“These facilities, they are not a Holiday Inn, but they have running water, they have cots, they have rows and rows of porta-potties which are getting cleaned out daily,” Joseph Sysling, a resident of Katy, Texas, told True North earlier this month.

Huerta also cited the deaths of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, as examples of abuse. The two drowned during a desperate attempt to cross the Rio Grande after being rejected for asylum.

While that incident has been highly publicized, more than 20 similar tragedies occurred during the Obama administration.

Sherry Merrick, of Thetford, compared the U.S. handling of illegal border crossings to Nazi Germany.

“It’s horrific,” she said. “It’s similar to pre-World War II with Germany and Hitler, I think. The detention camps are in horrific conditions for people — and especially to take the children away from their loved ones and parents and having them in squalor.”

While the Trump administration has been criticized for separating children from adults thought to be parents and relatives, a report from May indicated that DNA tests done on adults with children showed no blood relationship in 30 percent of the cases.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kristjen Nielsen recently stated that 10,000 of 12,000 unaccompanied children were brought across the border by someone other than a biological parent.

Some people at the march were on hand to defend federal law enforcement.

John and Theresa Virginio, of Lincoln, expressed their support to local media.

“We’re very proud patriots. We’re very proud of our law enforcement, ICE, border patrol, state and federal law enforcement, FBI, all of it,” John Virginio said. “So we felt it’s important to show that there is support for them as opposed to the last 10 years of the bashing that they’ve taken from the prior administration and people like this who are here.”

He suggested some in the crowd had been making it difficult for them to be seen. At one point, one of the anti-ICE protesters approached the scene and reminded her fellow protesters that everyone has a right to hold their signs.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

6 thoughts on “Several hundred march against Vermont cooperation with ICE detention centers

  1. The Peace and Justice Center & similar groups should make a list of their supporters willing to provide custody of immigrant(s) and then take them into their home for whatever length of time it takes ICE to make a determination. The gov’t will certainly find it cheaper to provide transport for the overflow than to expand and staff detention centers. (The custodians should be fined a significant amount, or jailed, if they fail in their custodial duties.)

  2. Wonder what our great patriot Ethan Allen would think of the behavior of a bunch of idiots trying to flaunt the law of the land? I’ve been lead to believe that all Vermonters are law abiding, pinky clean citizens. Guess I’ve been mislead.

  3. Must be the protest hag radical seagull got a summer payment from george soreass. Don’t these union loons know the KKK was a democrat organization? And with throwing in the “no ICE” at the
    end of their grade skool chant it doesn’t rhyme anymore…. Kinda throws the whole jingle
    outta whack… Perhaps if they spent their time protesting something of value to AMERICANS instead of
    law breaking illegals they might get some support. They could start in Baltimore with the little kids living in rat infested neighborhoods of democrats that don’t care. Or the LA kids who have to shuffle
    thru drug needles and poop and panhandlers to get to their skool that won’t teach them anything for their
    effort. The kids in cages are being used to get the adults in to the wonderland of free $hit. The cages are the safest place for them until we know who is bringing them in the law breaking entry.

  4. “Children in Cages”, is it? How many of these moronic zombies are aware of the numbers of children separated from their respective families who got in that state BEFORE they crossed the border, having been appropriated by the coyotes to use as bargaining chips to gain entry? There have been documented cases of children who have made the trip across the border sveral times. Fingerprinting and DNA testing have gone far in determining the validity of parental claims allegations.

    And how many moronic zombies would admit that the conditions in the detainment facilities are still better than in the countries those people have come from?

  5. Did you see these fools, chanting No Borders, No Walls, No KKK, No fascist USA,
    no ICE” …….. they forgot to mention ” No Antifa ” ??

    What rock did these fools crawl out from under !!

    Apparently, these social justice warriors being lead by Rachel Siegel, executive director
    for the ” Peace and Justice Center ” Now that an oxymoron, she said the demonstration
    was organized to ” oppose ” local activities that help enforce U.S. immigration laws ??
    I wonder what other laws they don’t follow

    If these Idiots want ” Peace & Justice ” try following our laws if you don’t like them than have
    them changed, as you have a Pack of Liberal Fools holding the Majority of the House, all this
    is, is nothing more than, let’s get in the news……

    So they don’t want Borders Or Walls, I wonder how many of these fools have a ” Fence ” on
    their property lines to keep people out, I bet Rachel has a “Fence ” around her property if she
    does…….. what a Hypocrite ………… Yup, just another Liberal !!

    Oh yeah, the scary KKK………………… and these people want to be taken seriously !!

    • I wonder how many of these people actually went to see all the conditions of the Southern border including the stress that immigration and border patrol are under due to congresses inaction for the last two years to provide help.

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