Editorial: A $10 million price tag, and Trump+ICE = bad policy

Two local stories stand out in today’s Addison Independent: a shocking $10 million price tag for upgrading the Ilsley Library in Middlebury, and, more importantly, a look at how the threat of deportation of migrant workers could impact the state’s and county’s dairy economy.
The threat to farm-related economies across the nation that has been created by Trump’s misguided immigration policy has grabbed headlines across the nation with similar local reaction: no one wants it; everyone fears the harm it will do; and few, if any, think it helps a whit to make the nation safer — as Trump claims.
Local farmers know better: they know his policies have nothing to with making America safer, but rather that he’s fulfilling a bogus campaign pledge. It’s all about Trump and politics. He’ll claim he’s doing it to make America stronger, when exactly the opposite is true. In Addison County and Vermont, if Trump’s policies are pursued with vigor by ICE, it will force some (perhaps many) dairy farms out of business, and, in the long-run, could make the nation more dependent on foreign sources of food. As agricultural policy, that’s sheer stupidity.
Locally, it has a different impact: while potentially hurting us economically (up to 90 percent of migrant farm workers could be threatened), it also rips at the cultural fabric of our county’s farms. As one dairy farmer said: “You know, what scares me the most is that they’re going to come and take these guys away… It’s not because my farm would stop dead in its tracks. It’s not because I would be losing income out my eyeballs. But because I care about these guys. They’ve been on my farm for three years, and they feel like family. And I’m terrified of losing my family.”
That’s truly sad, and truly bad policy.
As for the $10 million price tag for renovating the Ilsley Library, good thing the project is in its early phases. That’s not just a bit over budget, it’s sky high. Hopefully, a more modest plan could be proposed as one of the options.
Angelo Lynn

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