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Border Patrol Arrests Of Farmworkers Spur Rally In Newport

A man cups his hands around his mouth at a protest.
Kathleen Masterson
Abel Luna, left, leads protestors in a chant outside the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility where a dairy worker was being held in 2017. Migrant Justice will be holding a rally on Sunday in Newport to protest the arrest of three farmworkers there.

Migrant Justice, a Vermont nonprofit representing immigrant farmworkers, will hold a rally in Newport Saturday following the arrest and detention of three dairy workers.

According to Migrant Justice, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested Ismael Mendez, 41, Mario Diaz, 23, and Ubertoni Aguilar, 28, on Sunday, June 23rd, as they left the Walmart in Newport. The nonprofit said in a written statement that the three men are in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Strafford County House of Corrections in Dover, N.H., and are awaiting deportation proceedings.

A rally will be held on Saturday, June 29, outside the same Walmart where the arrests took place. Migrant Justice said undocumented farmworkers are often targeted by federal agents as they go about their daily lives -- including buying groceries, or visiting friends.

Abel Luna is with Migrant Justice. He said the farmworkers sustain Vermont's struggling dairy economy, and they shouldn't be afraid to leave their farms for fear of deportation.

"These are our neighbors, these are people who are working hard on the farms, that are maintaining this economy this community, that are part of our community," he said. "No one should be separated from their families. We are organizing to win human rights. We are not going to allow ICE, immigration or Border Patrol to intimidate our community."

The group is organizing a petition drive calling for the dairy workers' release.

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