Addison County farmworker released from ICE custody

ADDISON COUNTY — Alejandro Hernández Ventura, the Addison County farmworker who was arrested last month by agents from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), was released from custody Thursday after over three weeks of detention.
Hernández Ventura was bailed out of an ICE field office in Burlington, Mass., after spending three weeks at an ICE detention center in Strafford County, N.H. He was arrested on June 24 near his home at the Addison County dairy farm where he worked, and originally held with bail set at $14,000.
But on Wednesday, Hernández Ventura’s lawyers convinced a judge to lower Hernández Ventura’s bond from $14,000 to $3,500, which facilitated his release. Will Lambek, a spokesman for the advocacy group Migrant Justice, said the money had been raised by local community members seeking to help win Hernández Ventura’s release.
“People donated and Migrant Justice served as a conduit for the bond,” he said. Much of that money was raised at the June 30 family separation protest in Burlington, where a bucket was passed around for Hernández Ventura’s bond.
According to Lambek, Hernández Ventura’s attorneys reported that community support was a crucial factor in the judge’s decision to lower the bond.
“There were over 1,200 people who signed on to a letter calling for his release, including the congressional delegation,” he said. “The combined pressure, that makes a big difference to show the judge that he has community ties.”
Now, Lambek said, Hernández Ventura will return to Vermont, where he will be reunited with his spouse and resume his life here. Nonetheless, his future in the United States remains in question.
“He’s in removal proceedings, which means that the government is still moving to deport him,” Lambek said, adding that Hernández Ventura’s next court appearance will probably be about a year from now. “In the meantime, he’ll be continuing to live here with his community.”

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