Montpelier rally to call for release of detained farmworkers

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Montpelier rally to call for release of detained farmworkers

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 9:54am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Migrant Justice announced in a press release that it will hold a rally Friday evening to denounce the Border Patrol arrest of farmworker couple Yesenia Hernández and Esau Peche.  Both are active members of Migrant Justice and participated in the June 17th 13-mile march to the Ben & Jerry’s factory, calling on the ice cream company to improve conditions for dairy workers.

When: Friday, June 23th, 6pm - 8pm

Where: Vermont State House, 115 State St., Montpelier, VT

Esau Peche (l) and Yesenia Hernández (r), leading 13 mile march for "Milk with Dignity," June 17th. Migrant Justice photo.

Who: Yesenia Hernández-Ramos, 29, and Esau Peche-Ventura, 26, live and work on a dairy farm in Franklin County, Vermont.  [Please note correction to Ms. Hernández’s age from previous release].  Migrant Justice is an organization founded and led by immigrant farmworkers in Vermont.  In the past, the organization has successfully advocated for the release of numerous dairy workers detained by immigration authorities.

Background: Agents of the U.S. Border Patrol arrested Esau Peche and Yesenia Hernández on the night of Saturday, June 17th.  The two were returning to the Franklin County farm where they live and work after participating in a 13 mile march with the organization Migrant Justice.  Marchers called on Ben & Jerry’s to join Milk with Dignity, a program designed by dairy workers to improve conditions in the dairy industry.  The march was widely reported on, including in the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune.

Several Migrant Justice leaders have been targeted for arrest by immigration authorities over the past year, including Victor Diaz, Miguel Alcudia, Enrique Balcazar, and Zully Palacios.  All have been released following sustained public pressure and widespread community support.

Migrant Justice organized two rallies on Monday, June 19th.  At 7am, three dozen supporters gathered outside the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, where Ms. Herández was held at the time.  At noon, more supporters rallied at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in St. Albans.  At the rally, a small delegation -- including Mr. Balcazar, Ms. Palacios, and Mr. Diaz -- entered the building to attempt to speak with ICE personnel, where they were threatened with arrest for trespassing.

Both Ms. Hernández and Mr. Peche are being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Strafford County detention facility in Dover, NH, pending a hearing to determine bond.  They are represented by East Boston-based attorney Matt Cameron.  Migrant Justice launched a petition on June 22nd, urging ICE to release the two detained farmworkers. VBM