There’s been an evolution in the way Vermont law enforcement agencies approach the state’s immigrant community, largely driven by the presence of migrant farm workers. Policies developed in recent years bar state troopers from asking for residency documents, unless its part of a criminal investigation. And the legislature is studying the idea of allowing migrants to apply for a Vermont drivers license.
Advocates for Vermont’s immigrant community are concerned that this week’s implementation of the federal Secure Communities program represents a step backward. Under the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program, when state and local law enforcement send fingerprints to the FBI for a criminal check, the records are automatically shared with the Department Of Homeland Security. ICE says the program is designed to apprehend aliens with criminal records. Advocates for immigrants and migrant workers say it could be used to deport people for minor offenses and will lead to increased racial profiling.
We talk with Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn about the impact of Secure Communities on state law enforcement. We also speak with Brendan O’Neill of Migrant Justice about the concerns in the immigrant and migrant communities over how the program will be implemented.
Also, we hear about a plan to rescue one of the state’s oldest movie theaters. Faced with the the high cost of going digital, the Playhouse Theater in Randolph hopes to transition from private ownership to a community-owned cooperative model.
And, VPR’s Sam Sanders tells us about a cabaret he attended in New York City 46 years ago. One of the performers was the then-unknown singer and actress Bernadette Peters. Sam made a recording of one of her cabaret performances and this week when Peters appeared at the Flynn Center, he presented her with a copy.