Local farmworker in custody after ICE arrest
ADDISON COUNTY — A local farmworker from Mexico was arrested on Sunday, June 24 by agents from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Alejandro Hernández Ventura, a 25-year-old employee at an Addison County dairy farm, is being held at a detention center in Strafford County, N.H. According to Will Lambek, a spokesman for the advocacy group Migrant Justice, Hernández Ventura’s lawyers recently learned that his bond is set at $14,000 — significantly higher than the $8,000 figure that ICE had originally stated.
According to a press release issued last Friday by Migrant Justice, Hernández Ventura and his wife were driving away from their home on the farm, whose name and exact location have not been disclosed, when ICE agents began following their car and pulled it over. The release alleges that ICE agents prevented Hernández Ventura’s wife from calling her lawyer, before handcuffing Hernández Ventura and driving away with him.
Migrant Justice launched an online petition calling for Hernández Ventura’s release from ICE custody, which had over 1,100 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon. The group is also raising money in an effort to help Hernández Ventura’s family with legal and bail fees. Lambek said that while Hernández Ventura has previously been involved with the group’s activism, there are no indications that his arrest was caused by his participation.
Likewise, Lambek said it’s difficult to determine whether ICE targeted Hernández Ventura as part of the Trump administration’s escalated enforcement practices on noncriminal undocumented immigrants, or whether his arrest follows the same standards set by previous administrations.
“One can’t particularly be sure how it would’ve changed under current policy,” Lambek said. “ICE was regularly conducting arrests of Vermont farmworkers under the prior administration and they continue to do so under this administration, although more aggressively than before. They seem to have cast the net somewhat wider in this case.”
According to the press release, which decries the arrest as “unjust,” Hernández Ventura has no criminal history and has never had contact with ICE during his nine years in the United States.
“While people of conscience everywhere justly express our outrage about the appalling separation of families along the southern border, we must not forget the ongoing separation of families throughout the country from ICE detention and deportation,” the release reads.
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