Vermont DMV & ICE, are they having fun or what?

It turns out the Vermont DMV is still cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). When Vermont DMV head Robert Ide and Col. Jake Elovirta, the department’s director of enforcement and safety, testified to legislators this week, Ide admitted:  [his] department has not completely implemented the terms of a Human Rights Commission settlement they had agreed to.

Commissioner Ide and Col. Jake Elovirta
Commissioner Ide and Col. Jake Elovirta

According to requirements of the mid-2016 court agreement the DMV was supposed to stop passing along information about foreign nationals to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. However VTdigger.com and Seven Days found: records show that communications between DMV and ICE employees continued [the practice] through the end of 2016.

But I guess it’s hard for some at the DMV to break off their warm relationship with ICE. “It [the settlement with Human Rights Commission] was an ambitious list of tasks,” Commissioner Ide said. “I’m not saying that we are all done yet, but we certainly are on a course that charts us to that end point.”

Implementation of the 2016 DMV agreement may continue to be a challenge in the age of Trump. Since the immigration crack down, there are reports of a “gung-ho enthusiasm” among immigration enforcement officials. Energized hardliners who have now been given what seems to be free reign say their jobs are becoming “fun.” And alarmingly, one federal official said: Those who take less of a hard line on unauthorized immigrants feel silenced. DMVfunzone

When addressing improper communications between DMV personnel and ICE that violate the agreement, Commissioner Ide told the State House hearing that some things just aren’t “fun”: “It’s not fun to have to explain this type of behavior,” Ide said. “But behavior is what it is, and sometimes you have to.”

I kind of doubt anyone at the hearing asked: “Commissioner Ide, tell us, is it fun to do your job?”  So, he must have felt the need to publicly declare his job isn’t even fun anymore.

Fun or not, while bringing the agency into compliance as promised, Ide might consider remarks made by Abdel Rababah. He is the man, on whose behalf the Human Rights Commission filed the case against the DMV. Rababah said. “If we can’t trust the system, how can we as people function in the community?”

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