OFF THE WIRE
Governor Peter Shumlin says state troopers should not try to arrest people solely for being here illegally, which is being called the "look the other way" policy. (Source: WPTZ/CNN)
BURLINGTON, VT (WPTZ/CNN) - Vermont's governor has released a new immigration policy for state police, which is being dubbed the "look the other way" policy.
Gov. Peter Shumlin says state troopers should not try to arrest people just for being in the U.S. illegally.
Back in September, a state trooper made a routine traffic stop and asked one of the passengers his immigration status. He suspected that person of being an illegal immigrant and called Customs and Borders Patrol, who arrested the man.
The arrest sparked protests from the migrant worker community, who says the trooper should never have asked about the man's immigration status.
The governor's office says the trooper did nothing wrong, but Gov. Shumlin said the state's policy was in a gray area that needed clearing up.
"Vermont farmers can't survive without workers from outside America," Shumlin said. "That's just the way it is. We've got to keep our dairy farms strong, so we've always had a policy in Vermont where we kind of "look the other way" as much as we can.
The governor says that immigration is to be enforced by federal agents. State police can choose to help by detaining people they suspect of being illegal immigrants.
"The new policy states that Vermont State Police troopers should not try to identify people whose only suspected violation is that they are present in the United States without proper documentation, but also makes it clear that officers should continue to investigate suspected criminal activity," Shumlin said in a released statement.
In the new policy, Shumlin also recommends federal authorities be called in to help with Canadian border cases.