Protest held after arrest of farmworker in Vergennes

ST. ALBANS — A dozen people gathered on Thursday afternoon outside the Vermont headquarters of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to denounce the arrest by immigration agents of farm worker Miguel Alcudia, and to call for his release.

Earlier in the day, undercover ICE agents arrested Alcudia in downtown Vergennes.

Agents staked out the Addison County farm where Mr. Alcudia works and followed him into Vergennes, as he drove to town to deposit his paycheck.

He was arrested outside of his bank and transported to the St. Albans ICE office.

“ICE isn’t waiting for a Trump presidency,” said Will Lambek of Migrant Justice, the group that organized the protest. “They are cracking down now and terrorizing immigrant farm workers today. Farm workers should not be criminalized. We demand Miguel’s release and an end to deportations.”

Alcudia is 23-years-old and originally from Mexico. He worked on dairy farms in New York before coming to Vermont in 2014. He is a member of Migrant Justice and has helped lead efforts to improve working conditions for dairy workers.

ICE claims that Alcudia overstayed his visa. They have set bail at $21,000.

Alcudia’s arrest is the second high-profile detention of an immigrant farm worker in Vermont this year. In April, ICE detained Victor Diaz outside a Stowe restaurant. Nearly 3,000 people signed a petition calling for freedom for Mr. Diaz. The petition was presented before an immigration judge in May, who ordered Mr. Diaz to be released.

According to Migrant Justice, these two cases are part of a trend of increased ICE activity in Vermont, resulting in the detention of many more immigrant farm workers.

Following the press conference, those assembled marched to the ICE office.

After knocking on the building’s front door and receiving no response, they chanted together: “Miguel, you are not alone. We are with you.”

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