At a Glance
Plaintiffs settled with the Vermont DMV on January 15, 2020, and with the federal defendants on October 28, 2020
- Ghita Schwarz
- Angelo Guisado
National Center for Law and Economic Justice; National Immigration Law Center; ACLU of Vermont; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Migrant Justice, Inc.; Jose Enrique Balcazar Sanchez; Zully Palacios Rodriguez; Jose Victor Garcia Diaz; Miguel Alcudia Gamas
Migrant Justice, a Vermont-based advocacy organization with roots in economic justice, labor, and human rights, and six of its members are suing the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles. The lawsuit alleges that ICE retaliated against Migrant Justice for its First Amendment-protected activity, engaging in a years-long systemic campaign of surveillance, targeting, harassment, and arrest and detention of nearly a dozen of its members, a campaign that continues to present day. Reminiscent of federal efforts to invade and destabilize progressive organizations of color in the 1960’s and 1970’s, ICE specifically and explicitly targeted Migrant Justice leadership to dismantle the organization and weaken its efficacy as an advocate for the Vermont migrant community. In order to do so, ICE relied on assistance from the Vermont DMV, which provided personal and sensitive information about Migrant Justice members as a part of the DMV’s larger discriminatory animus against the Vermont Latinx community, which as the complaint alleges, violates Equal Protection. Taken together, the ongoing campaign has chilled Migrant Justice and its members’ speech and caused them significant harm, for which plaintiffs seek injunctive and monetary relief.