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The full text of the Ordinance may be examined in Town Hall and on the Town website www.hartford-vt.org. The Town Manager is the municipal official designated to answer questions and receive comments and may be reached at802-295-9353. In accordance with 24 VSA §1973, citizens have a right to petition for a special meeting vote on the question of disapproving the ordinance with said petition signed by not less than 5% of the qualified voters of the municipality within 44 days following the date of adoption.
This ordinance shall be known as the Welcoming Hartford Ordinance.
The Town Selectboard finds that the cooperation of all persons, citizens and
non-citizens regardless of immigration status, is essential to achieve the Town’s goals of protecting life and property, preventing crime and resolving problems. The Town Selectboard further finds that assistance from a person, whether documented or not, who is a victim of, or a witness to, a crime is important to promoting the safety of all its residents.
Due to the Town’s limited resources; the complexity of immigration laws; the clear need to foster the trust of and cooperation from the public, including members of the immigrant communities; and to effectuate the Town’s goals, the Town Selectboard finds that there is a need to articulate its guidelines regarding the communications and enforcement relationship between the Town and the federal government. The purpose of this chapter is to establish the Town’s procedures concerning immigration status and enforcement of federal civil immigration laws.
As used in this ordinance, the following words and phrases shall mean and include:
Administrative warrant. "Administrative warrant" means an immigration warrant issued by ICE, or a successor or similar federal agency charged with the enforcement of civil immigration laws, used as a non-criminal, civil warrant for immigration purposes.
Agency. "Agency" means every Hartford Town department, agency, division, commission, council, committee, board, other body, or person established by authority of an ordinance, executive order, or order of the Hartford Selectboard.
Agent. "Agent" means any person employed by or acting on behalf of an Agency.
Citizenship or immigration status. "Citizenship or immigration status" means all matters regarding questions of citizenship of the United States or any other country, the authority to reside in or otherwise be present in the United States,
Federal immigration authorities. "Federal immigration authorities" means federal agencies, departments, or employees or contractors thereof, tasked with enforcement of immigration law and border entry, including without limitation, the Department of Homeland Security (OHS), Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).
Immigration detainer. "Immigration detainer" means an official request issued by ICE, or other federal agency charged with the enforcement of civil immigration laws, to another federal, state or local law enforcement agency to detain an individual based on a violation of a civil immigration law or notify ICE or other federal immigration agency of a person’s release from custody.
No Agent or Agency shall request information about or otherwise investigate or assist in the investigation of the Citizenship or immigration status of any person unless such inquiry or investigation is required by Vermont State Statute, federal regulation, or court decision. Notwithstanding this provision, the Town Counsel may investigate and inquire about immigration status when relevant to potential or actual litigation or an administrative proceeding in which the Town is or may be a party.
No Agent or Agency shall disclose information regarding the Citizenship or immigration status of any person unless required to do so by statute or court order or such
disclosure has been authorized in writing by the individual to whom such information pertains, or if such individual is a minor or is otherwise not legally competent, by such individual’s parent or guardian.
This section shall not apply when such information sharing is necessary to an ongoing investigation of a felony, for which there is probable cause, and the investigation is unrelated to the enforcement of federal civil immigration law.
No Agent or Agency shall condition the provision of Town of Hartford benefits, opportunities, or services on matters related to Citizenship or immigration status unless required to do so by statute, federal regulation, or court decision.
Where presentation of a Vermont driver’s license or identification card is accepted as adequate evidence of identity, presentation of a photo identity document issued by the person’s nation of origin, such as a driver’s license, passport, or matricula consular (consulate-issued document), shall be accepted and shall not subject the person to a higher level of scrutiny or different treatment than if the person had provided a Vermont driver’s license or identification card, except that this subsection shall not apply to the completion of the federally mandated 1-9 forms.
No Agent or Agency shall:
Unless necessary to an ongoing investigation of a felony, for which there is probable cause, and the investigation is unrelated to the enforcement of federal civil immigration law, no Agent or Agency shall:
An Agent or Agency is authorized to communicate with Federal immigration authorities in order to determine whether any matter involves enforcement based solely on a violation of a civil immigration law.
This chapter does not create or form the basis for liability on the part of the Town, its Agents, or Agencies.
The exclusive remedy for violation of this chapter shall be through the Town’s disciplinary procedures for Agents under regulations including but not limited to this Town’s personnel rules, union contracts, civil service commission rules, or any other Agency rules and/or regulations.
For purposes of ensuring compliance with the provisions of this ordinance, the Governor or any Selectboard member may request the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to
conduct an investigation of an agent or agency of the Town of Hartford to determine if it is in compliance with the Vermont Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act (VFHPAA 9 V.S.A. §4502)
All applications, questionnaires, and interview forms to be completed and submitted after the passage of this ordinance used in relation to Town of Hartford benefits, opportunities, or services shall be promptly reviewed by the pertinent agencies and any questions regarding Citizenship or immigration status, other than those required by statute, ordinance, federal regulation or court decision, shall be deleted within 60 days of the final effective date of this ordinance.
This ordinance shall take effect as a civil ordinance. It is not a criminal ordinance. This ordinance is pursuant to authority and powers of the Town of Hartford, Vermont as set forth in 24 V.S.A. 872 (a).
If any provision, clause, section, part, or application of this chapter to any person or circumstance is declared invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder hereof or its application to any other person or circumstance. It is hereby declared that the legislative intent of the Selectboard that this chapter would have been adopted had such invalid provision, clause, section, part or application not been included herein.