Senate passes bill to limit Trump’s executive orders

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Senate advanced a bill on a unanimous vote Thursday that aims to keep state, county and local law enforcement agencies from helping federal authorities enforce immigration laws.

All 30 senators — including seven Republicans — voted in favor of the legislation, sending it to a final vote Friday. The bill was crafted by Republican Gov. Phil Scott, Democratic Attorney General T.J. Donovan and lawmakers in response to a series of executive orders signed by President Donald Trump regarding immigration enforcement and border security.

Sen. Dick Sears

Sen. Dick Sears

The bill grants the governor sole authority to approve agreements that would, in effect, deputize state, county or local police officers to enforce federal immigration law. One of the president’s executive orders calls for such agreements to help federal authorities. The Vermont bill also prevents those same law enforcement agencies in the state from collecting personally identifiable information or relaying that information to federal authorities, including race, sex, immigration status, religion or sexual orientation. The purpose is to prevent people in Vermont from being included in any registries the Trump administration may seek to create.

“What it does is small, but it is a big bill and does mean something,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Sears, D-Bennington, told his colleagues Thursday.

Sears noted that the U.S. has had a “less than stellar” past at times, pointing to the Chinese Exclusion Act, which prohibited people from China from emigrating to the U.S.

Sen. Dustin Degree said he was concerned the bill could derail cooperation between local law enforcement and the U.S. Border Patrol regarding non-immigration issues.

“Many of us recognize and understand the important situations of cooperation and mutual aid that the border patrol plays with our local law enforcement,” he said. “Does this bill change any of those particular relationships?”

Sears said there are currently no agreements in place between local law enforcement and federal authorities for immigration enforcement. The bill would not prevent federal authorities from assisting local law enforcement in other police actions.

Passage of the bill comes as Scott prepares to head to Washington, D.C., this weekend for a meeting of the National Governors Association. There, he is scheduled to take part in a dinner at the White House with the president on Sunday night, and another meeting with Trump on Monday.

At his weekly news conference Wednesday, Scott reiterated his support for the legislation.

“I think that bill is important to Vermont. I think it does set the tone and I believe it does offer us protections,” he said. “We’re doing what’s important, I think, alleviating the fears of many throughout Vermont. It is important to let them know, those here within our borders, that we’re going to protect them and that we’re going to do it the Vermont way.”

Gov. Phil Scott (Times Argus/Stefan Hard)

Gov. Phil Scott (Times Argus/Stefan Hard)

Scott said he is unsure if he’ll have a chance to speak directly to Trump during his visits to the White House, but said he understands what most Vermonters would want him to say.

“I’m sure they’d like to let him know that we don’t agree with the executive order. We have to be sensitive, as well. That’s my opinion. The majority of Vermonters feel that way, but there’s a strong contingent that don’t feel that way. They’re solidly behind the president and his immigration policy. I just don’t happen to be one of them,” the governor said.

Scott said he plans to continue making the case to those who oppose the legislation that it is in the state’s best interest.

“I continue to try and remind them that this is about protecting our Constitution. This isn’t about just one issue,” he said. “This is about what I see as federal overreach in terms of our Constitution, and we can’t pick and choose which part of the Constitution we protect. We need to protect all of it. The next time when somebody is maybe talking about taking away some Second Amendment rights, I will be there to protect them as well.”

14 thoughts on “Senate passes bill to limit Trump’s executive orders

  1. Pingback: Week Six of #45: Read. Act. #Resist

  2. State leaders have to protect their economies and law enforcement officials. Local police have enough to do without being tasked to assist immigration enforcement agents. The taxpayers of the state get first dibs on their police officer’s time.
    Many states have economies that depend on immigrant workers. They do the jobs native born citizens simply won’t do like, harvest crops, milk cows, clean toilets, etc. Immigrants are not “taking your jobs” they are doing the jobs you won’t do.
    All this bitching and whining about deport illegals, blah, blah, blah will stop when you are paying $12 a gallon for milk and $10 for a pint of strawberries and that’s because you waited outside the store for two hours until the trucks came in to deliver limited quantities since most of the crops rot in the fields.
    No one is against sensible immigration reform. Just hounding and rounding up undocumented workers is not sensible. WE, YOU depend on their labor to put food on your table, clean your office building, haul your trash away. Right now an undocumented immigrant is toiling away to make your community look better, serve you food, clean your rental car and digging up the potatoes McDonalds will use to make you French fries.
    Smart governors will resist heavy-handed immigrant round ups because they know how much their state’s economy depends on their labor.
    This is all just the practical argument against these round ups. Anyone in support of dragging families (kids, the elderly) to deportation centers and sending them to a country they have not lived in for 20 or 30 years, maybe never if the kids were born here, and dumping them on Mexico with nothing is sadly lacking in moral fiber and has lost their humanity. Those same people with black hearts have been enjoying a way of life not possible without the labor of immigrants, documented or not.

  3. Excessive manipulation of power from one sole entity is the reason why our founding fathers placed the system of checks and balances; better yet to include the common good through democracy and majority reasoning. This is all our country, and without these systems there would be no accountability. Thank God.

  4. If they don’t want to support federal government they shouldn’t receive any federal dollars for any support. And they can have all the illegals they want.

    • Local police just have different priorities. They want to keep people safe and that’s difficult if people are too afraid to call them. No one is stopping the federal government ICE from doing their job.

  5. Our $ 2.2 billion dairy industry depends on year round immigrant workers. The state should not be required by Trump to round them up, deport them and destroy the industry. Do you think Eric or Donnie or any of the elite cabinet Trump chose would even enter a barn.?

  6. This is goo and so wrong also. I think if they are illegal Immigrants they need to be eather deported of the all the senators in the state of Vermont should give up all there pay per year. I pay my bills and how do I get repaid the state of Vermont does something like this and makes me pay more in taxes that’s so bogus I’m so glad no one in this state uses there head.

  7. Then you can put them up in your back yard and pay for them. Make sure you don’t check their fake IDs any you can pay their bills since democracy and protecting our constiturion doesn’t include taxation for illegals or crime or the fact Theyve flat out admitted their plan to take over our country. That this is not our country it’s theres.
    I wonder who’s paying them?

  8. Thank you to all those involved in stopping the So-Called Fake president from signing more Executive Orders. He needs to be stopped & I’m hoping, replaced from office. We need someone who can do the job properly.

  9. Good news! Am so happy to hear of this bipartsan pushback against The Donald’s cruel edicts and his abuse of Executive Orders. Yay Vermont! Truly patriotic Americans who believe in, and understand the meaning of democracy have much in common, nevermind on which “side of the aisle” they stand.

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