Vermont activists call to end ‘concentration camps’ at southern border

Michael Bielawski/TNR

NO BORDERS, NO WALLS: Rachel Siegel, executive director for the Peace and Justice Center, speaks to a crowd of about 50 at Church Street on why immigration detention centers on the U.S. southern border need to be shut down.

BURLINGTON — As part of a broader Democratic Party gambit to recast immigration enforcement at the U.S. southern border as Nazi-like, the Vermont Peace and Justice Center held a “Close the Camps/Stop the Deportations” protest on Tuesday afternoon on Church Street.

More than a hundred locals attended and marched from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ office to Sen. Patrick Leahy’s office, delivering letters regarding conditions at immigration detainment centers between Mexico and the United States.

Kina Thorp, an activist for the Vermont Peace and Justice Center, was among the first to speak.

“We are in the midst of a full-scale humanitarian crisis on our southern border created by the Trump Administration,” she said. “He’s arrested tens of thousands of refugees and immigrants, keeping them in what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rightly called concentration camps.”

Thorp said thousands of children are being held in “horrific conditions,” and that separating kids from families at the border “could create an epidemic of health problems.”

Former Gov. Madeleine Kunin, the most well-known speaker at the event, tried to pull on heartstrings to convince the audience that immigration enforcement is unusual and cruel.

Michael Bielawski/TNR

Protesters hold a banner that calls for an end to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“[It’s hard] when you see mothers having to say goodbye to their children and not knowing where or when they will see them again,” she said. “… Can you imagine how you would feel or how I would feel to have my child taken away from me at the border? It brings tears to my eyes to think about it.”

Zully Palacios, the third speaker at the protest, spoke in Spanish while a translator interpreted.

“And as we read about what’s happening on the southern border, we must not forget what’s happening here on our northern border,” she said. “Just last week three of our neighbors and community members were detained at a Walmart in Newport, Vermont.”

In fact, numbers from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported in early June included 2,862 total apprehensions near the northern border for fiscal year 2019. About 952 of those are confirmed to have involved immigrants who crossed the border from Canada.

Rachel Siegel, executive director for the Peace and Justice Center, was the main organizer of the event. She told True North that the U.S. should stop border enforcement efforts.

“The answer is to redistribute our funds to support human beings,” she said. ” … No, we don’t make better facilities. If you make better facilities, then you are investing in them and they are more likely to be long-term, and then it’s the same thing that happened in Germany.”

She said, ultimately, there should be no border.

“I believe there should be no border, but that might be a long-term goal. In the meantime, we should at least be hospitable and welcoming,” she said.

She acknowledged the program and facilities predate the Trump administration.

“Absolutely, this has been horrible since Europeans arrived here — we’ve been separating people from their families and we continue to even with incarcerations in Vermont. We have lots … of parents in Vermont prisons and jails who are separated from their kids.”

She said the U.S. needs to stop “imperialist interventions” in South America, which she said have prompted much of these mass migrations in the first place.

“We need to stop structural adjustments, we need to stop training people to be assassins, we need to stop funding military dictatorships,” she said.

Ben Richards, of the nearby town of Georgia, also was participating in the event.

“I’m not an open borders kind of guy, but we need more resources at the border to process people that are asylum seekers or whatever their legal status is. We need to get these people processed,” he said. “Trump cripples all the agencies so they are unable to function.”

President Donald Trump recently signed a bipartisan-supported $4.6 billion border funding bill to alleviate pressure at detention centers, as the daily crossings this year have hit a 13-year high with, at some points, nearly 3,600 illegals arriving a day.

Joseph Sysling, who was at the march near the back of the crowd, had his own opinions. He’s originally from Burlington but now lives in Katy, Texas, where he has seen the detention facilities first-hand.

“We’ve volunteered to help out the children’s side and the adult side. We’ve helped feed them, we play games, we talk to them and give them comfort while they try to figure out their next step,” he said. “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.

“It’s not like a concentration camp like Hitler did to the Jews. They are being taken care of and they are trying to figure out the next move is.”

When some folks asked him how he felt about children being separated from families, Sysling cited reports that DNA testing reveals that about a third of these children don’t share DNA with the alleged family members.

“Texas is one of the largest child-trafficker sex-slave routes in the industry,” he said.

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

16 thoughts on “Vermont activists call to end ‘concentration camps’ at southern border

  1. I wonder how many illegals are in Vermont? Let’s send the illegals that are being released to Vermont. And let’s watch Bernie and the rest of the representatives welcome all of them. Seems fair

  2. “[It’s hard] when you see mothers having to say goodbye to their children and not knowing where or when they will see them again,” Kunin said.

    I watched this happen many times over my 24 years on active duty, with children saying goodbye to their mother or father, not knowing where, when or if they would ever see them again.

    I have very little sympathy for those illegally crossing our borders, knowing full well what will happen. We have every right to determine if the children are actually theirs, or if, as has been proven, they’ve been borrowed, bought or stolen.

  3. Maybe the Peace and Justice Center could lease the empty space in the dorms of three closed Vermont colleges, and make them refugee sanctuaries, and of course post bond for producing the refugees for their asylum hearings six or eight months down the road………

  4. “It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance.” ~ Thomas Sowell

  5. As they chant, “no borders, no wall, no USA at all…”
    They really mean it! What kind of utopia do they expect to have if they accomplish that?
    A civil war? These people are either insane, or enemies, or both.
    I say both because they are not going to like it even if they succeed.
    Like the words in a song by a famous band say,
    “some folks look for answers, others look for fights”. But if they were in a real fight, they would be demolished soon.
    It’s not rational. Too much drugs, mercury, fluoride, and evil, hypnotizing media has wrecked too many brains and trashed their souls.

  6. The main stream press seems to have forgotten or are purposely ignoring the facts that , one, even His Royal Highness Obama talked about serious issues with illegals at the boarder and two, President Trump has been for the past year and a half warning of a crises at the southern boarder and has been urging Congress to act while all the Dems cried out that there is no crises and it was manufactured. Well, as they say, “the chickens have come home to roost” and it’s all President Trump’s fault. What a bunch of hypocrites. As for the living conditions, what could one expect with thousands descending on facilities designed to handle far fewer. Give the guys credit, they are doing the best the can with the limited resources provided by the Dem controlled House. Perhaps with the latest legislation passed over “no” votes with the likes of that great patriot, AOC conditions will improve. Further, give the President credit for getting Mexico to do its part in helping to stem the flow.

    • Exactly, just a few months ago people like Pelosi and Schumer were saying “this is a manufactured crisis” and “Trump is using fear as a weapon” well now the house approved 4.5 billion dollars for humanitarian reasons. The MSM is still lying to the citizens about the migrants in custody. We’ve got a huge problem with homeless in CA and I don’t see the media outrage for them. This is all a dog and pony show. I say release all of them back to Mexico or a one way bus trip back to Honduras or whatever country they hail from. We don’t want them.

  7. Maddlyn kunnin if the mothers are worried about their children they shouldn’t have brought
    them on 2000 mi journey through Cartel territory to pilfer off our money illegally. Maddie’s still
    as crazy as ever. the Radical Seagul who served with the pea’s n just us league at the age
    of 10 has no say if our boarders should be open. A country with out a controlled border
    will become not a country. Maybe if Radical had done a better job saving Nicaragua they
    wouldn’t all be invading our borders for the freebees and have to spend time in
    Obama Cages

  8. I am married to a woman for 42 years and her parents went through the horrible experience of Germany in WW2. I heard first hand from her parents and relatives what happened to civilized and educated people just because they were Jewish. I am Catholic and I continue to be appalled by what happened in Germany during those years. What is happening on our southern border is not in any way to be compared with what happened in Germany. People in concentration camps were herded into rooms by the hundreds trying to find a space on the floor to rest their heads. They were made to stand at attention in freezing cold weather for hours with only a plain dress or rags to protect their skin from the cold. They were given 1 meal a day which consisted of watered down soup and a piece of bread (which was suppose to last for 4-5 days). There were no bathrooms inside a building, but rather an outside area with boards that they used to relieve themselves. AOC is a New York City IDIOT. She doesn’t have a clue. Perhaps she should read up on what went on during the holocaust and become a little more educated in world history. She will find that her idealistic views will only bring this country down, after we have come so far. If she really wants socialism, perhaps moving to a communist country would enlighten her. She has a degree from Boston College and got a job working in a Bronx NY bar.Not to say that working as a bartender is a bad job, but I wonder if she has a huge college loan that she would like to be erased. She is using the Left and Right media to expand her exposure to the USA. Don’t buy into her NYC crap. You might wake up one morning and she might be your president.

  9. 50 people?????

    This is a total astro turf, fake protest, that’s how it should be labeled the press should pan them and expose them for the charade it is, not give them an article that remotely legitimizes them.

    Bet if I check on digger its front page.

    People,have dinner parties bigger than this

  10. Millions of people travel the world, make dangerous journeys, commit crimes in order to get put into our “concentration camps”.

    This is the most disrespectful, anti-Semitic protest I’ve seen in years. Once again displaying how our educational system has failed our general public in critical thinking and history.

    And they say our education system doesn’t need improvement

  11. So the moonbat RS who founded a abortion fund now wants to open the borders without obama cages for the CHILDREN. Since she seems to have saved Nicaragua serving at the age of 10 in the Peas n just us league I guess she feels embolden to make our country as big a hole like the Nicaragua she saved. A country without control of its border won’t be a country very long, of course that’s what the little commie moonbats would like. One world order under the UN.

  12. Deport these people with the illegal aliens. Let them get taste of being an illegal in another country.

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