Targeted, Imprisoned, Deported, Dead: How ICE’s Detention Can Be Deadly to Migrants – Human rights advocate Durvi Martinez was first detained by Vermont State Police. Then ICE stepped in.

BURLING­TON, VT. — Durvi Mar­tinez left Mex­i­co after expe­ri­enc­ing ​intense and vio­lent dis­crim­i­na­tion” as a trans­gen­der woman, says Will Lam­bek, a staff mem­ber with Migrant Jus­tice, a human rights orga­ni­za­tion for dairy farm­work­ers. Mar­tinez, then 27, arrived in Ver­mont in 2015 and worked on a dairy farm, join­ing Migrant Jus­tice after attend­ing one of its work­er assem­blies. Soon, Mar­tinez (they/​them) was involved in Migrant Justice’s many march­es and actions in defense of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants, the back­bone of Vermont’s dairy industry. 

One of their first march­es with the orga­ni­za­tion was fol­low­ing the [Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment] arrest of a Migrant Jus­tice leader named Vic­tor Diaz,” Lam­bek says. ​Durvi par­tic­i­pat­ed in and helped to lead that march, and that was ulti­mate­ly suc­cess­ful in get­ting Vic­tor released — and he’s still in the coun­try and remains a Migrant Jus­tice leader today.” 

Mar­tinez would have a dif­fer­ent fate, one that illus­trates how ICE per­pet­u­ates trans­pho­bic vio­lence and the ongo­ing Covid-19 pan­dem­ic in the Unit­ed States and abroad — and the com­plic­i­ty of local police in doing so. 

Mar­tinez became part of Vermont’s indis­pens­able, yet extreme­ly per­se­cut­ed, undoc­u­ment­ed dairy work­force. Accord­ing to the 2019 book Life on the Oth­er Bor­der: Farm­work­ers and Food Jus­tice in Ver­mont, one in sev­en Ver­mont dairy work­ers are Lat­inx migrants, 90% of whom are thought to be undoc­u­ment­ed. Because more than 94% of Ver­mont res­i­dents are white, and a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of Ver­mont dairy farms are with­in 25 miles of the Cana­di­an bor­der, Lat­inx farm­work­ers are high­ly vis­i­ble and vul­ner­a­ble tar­gets for ICE. 

Migrant Jus­tice and oth­er immi­grants’ rights groups suc­cess­ful­ly pushed for the pas­sage of the Fair and Impar­tial Polic­ing pol­i­cy (FIP) in 2017, to help defend Vermont’s undoc­u­ment­ed pop­u­la­tion. In the­o­ry, FIP pre­vents local law enforce­ment from work­ing with fed­er­al immi­gra­tion author­i­ties, with excep­tions for pub­lic and offi­cer safety. 

On Jan­u­ary 11, Mar­tinez was arrest­ed by Ver­mont State Police for alleged­ly dri­ving under the influ­ence. A Ver­mont State Police offi­cer then alert­ed U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion about Mar­tinez, based on ​the total­i­ty of the cir­cum­stances,” says Adam Sil­ver­man, pub­lic infor­ma­tion offi­cer with the state police. Those cir­cum­stances, Sil­ver­man acknowl­edges, were sim­ply Martinez’s two pre­vi­ous bor­der-cross­ing arrests. ICE took cus­tody of Mar­tinez the next day. 

Mar­tinez was then held in men’s pris­ons despite being a trans woman, first by the U.S. Mar­shals at North­west State Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty in Swan­ton, Vt., then by ICE at Straf­ford Coun­ty Cor­rec­tions in Dover, N.H.

John Cur­tis, a super­vi­so­ry deputy with the Mar­shals, says the pol­i­cy is not to imprison trans peo­ple in facil­i­ties that don’t match their gen­der iden­ti­ty, but ​I don’t know the specifics on her, or him, or how­ev­er she iden­ti­fies,” regard­ing Mar­tinez. ICE failed to respond to In These Times’ request for com­ment but has tout­ed two prison units ded­i­cat­ed to trans women. Most trans pris­on­ers, how­ev­er, are held with the gen­er­al pop­u­la­tion, where harass­ment, assault and mis­treat­ment have been reported. 

Accord­ing to Migrant Jus­tice, at some point after March 10— the start of Martinez’s ICE impris­on­ment — Mar­tinez request­ed a ​cred­i­ble fear screen­ing,” the first step in the process of seek­ing asy­lum from trans­pho­bic vio­lence in Mex­i­co. But before Mar­tinez could secure an immi­gra­tion attor­ney, ICE was mov­ing ahead with depor­ta­tion. Lam­bek thinks the speed of Martinez’s depor­ta­tion could be linked to the pan­dem­ic. Dur­ing that time, ICE was under pres­sure to reduce the num­ber of peo­ple it impris­oned because social dis­tanc­ing is impos­si­ble in pris­ons. Rather than release peo­ple to spon­sors, ICE chose to rush depor­ta­tions. At most, ICE gave Mar­tinez 10 days to pur­sue asy­lum. They were deport­ed March 20

That fear of Covid-19 was ulti­mate­ly real­ized: On July 1, Mar­tinez died of the coro­n­avirus in Mex­i­co. Accord­ing to Lam­bek, Mar­tinez was first denied care at a pub­lic facil­i­ty before their fam­i­ly was forced to seek treat­ment at a pri­vate hospital. 

As may have been the case with Mar­tinez, crit­ics warn that depor­ta­tions are export­ing the virus to oth­er coun­tries. The Unit­ed States deport­ed more than 100 peo­ple with Covid-19 to Guatemala, for exam­ple, between mid-March and mid-April. The U.S. Mar­shals Ser­vice says it wasn’t aware of any report­ed cas­es of Covid-19 at North­west State Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty, but the Ver­mont Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions reports 45 pos­i­tive tests at the prison as of August 31. An admin­is­tra­tor at ICE’s Straf­ford Coun­ty facil­i­ty reports two pos­i­tive cas­es as of August 12

Whether Mar­tinez con­tract­ed Covid while impris­oned in the Unit­ed States, on the forced jour­ney to Mex­i­co, or while in Mex­i­co, Migrant Jus­tice believes the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Mar­tinez con­tract­ed Covid out­side the Unit­ed States does not absolve ICE nor the Ver­mont State Police. 

Migrant Jus­tice holds ICE respon­si­ble for Durvi’s death, even if they didn’t con­tract Covid in deten­tion,” Lam­bek says. ​Both the con­di­tions of deten­tion and their depor­ta­tion cer­tain­ly led to their con­trac­tion of the dis­ease and, ulti­mate­ly, their death. And to the extent that Ver­mont State Police were proac­tive­ly involved in alert­ing ICE to Durvi’s arrest and trans­fer­ring Durvi to ICE’s cus­tody, in vio­la­tion of their own pol­i­cy — that cul­pa­bil­i­ty extends to the state police as well.” 

Print
Print Share Comment Cite Upload Translate Updates

Leave a Reply

APA
Arvind Dilawar | Radio Free (2022-05-18T02:52:05+00:00) » Targeted, Imprisoned, Deported, Dead: How ICE’s Detention Can Be Deadly to Migrants – Human rights advocate Durvi Martinez was first detained by Vermont State Police. Then ICE stepped in.. Retrieved from https://www.radiofree.org/2020/09/21/targeted-imprisoned-deported-dead-how-ices-detention-can-be-deadly-to-migrants-human-rights-advocate-durvi-martinez-was-first-detained-by-vermont-state-police-then-ice-stepped-in/.
MLA
" » Targeted, Imprisoned, Deported, Dead: How ICE’s Detention Can Be Deadly to Migrants – Human rights advocate Durvi Martinez was first detained by Vermont State Police. Then ICE stepped in.." Arvind Dilawar | Radio Free - Monday September 21, 2020, https://www.radiofree.org/2020/09/21/targeted-imprisoned-deported-dead-how-ices-detention-can-be-deadly-to-migrants-human-rights-advocate-durvi-martinez-was-first-detained-by-vermont-state-police-then-ice-stepped-in/
HARVARD
Arvind Dilawar | Radio Free Monday September 21, 2020 » Targeted, Imprisoned, Deported, Dead: How ICE’s Detention Can Be Deadly to Migrants – Human rights advocate Durvi Martinez was first detained by Vermont State Police. Then ICE stepped in.., viewed 2022-05-18T02:52:05+00:00,<https://www.radiofree.org/2020/09/21/targeted-imprisoned-deported-dead-how-ices-detention-can-be-deadly-to-migrants-human-rights-advocate-durvi-martinez-was-first-detained-by-vermont-state-police-then-ice-stepped-in/>
VANCOUVER
Arvind Dilawar | Radio Free - » Targeted, Imprisoned, Deported, Dead: How ICE’s Detention Can Be Deadly to Migrants – Human rights advocate Durvi Martinez was first detained by Vermont State Police. Then ICE stepped in.. [Internet]. [Accessed 2022-05-18T02:52:05+00:00]. Available from: https://www.radiofree.org/2020/09/21/targeted-imprisoned-deported-dead-how-ices-detention-can-be-deadly-to-migrants-human-rights-advocate-durvi-martinez-was-first-detained-by-vermont-state-police-then-ice-stepped-in/
CHICAGO
" » Targeted, Imprisoned, Deported, Dead: How ICE’s Detention Can Be Deadly to Migrants – Human rights advocate Durvi Martinez was first detained by Vermont State Police. Then ICE stepped in.." Arvind Dilawar | Radio Free - Accessed 2022-05-18T02:52:05+00:00. https://www.radiofree.org/2020/09/21/targeted-imprisoned-deported-dead-how-ices-detention-can-be-deadly-to-migrants-human-rights-advocate-durvi-martinez-was-first-detained-by-vermont-state-police-then-ice-stepped-in/
IEEE
" » Targeted, Imprisoned, Deported, Dead: How ICE’s Detention Can Be Deadly to Migrants – Human rights advocate Durvi Martinez was first detained by Vermont State Police. Then ICE stepped in.." Arvind Dilawar | Radio Free [Online]. Available: https://www.radiofree.org/2020/09/21/targeted-imprisoned-deported-dead-how-ices-detention-can-be-deadly-to-migrants-human-rights-advocate-durvi-martinez-was-first-detained-by-vermont-state-police-then-ice-stepped-in/. [Accessed: 2022-05-18T02:52:05+00:00]
rf:citation
» Targeted, Imprisoned, Deported, Dead: How ICE’s Detention Can Be Deadly to Migrants – Human rights advocate Durvi Martinez was first detained by Vermont State Police. Then ICE stepped in. | Arvind Dilawar | Radio Free | https://www.radiofree.org/2020/09/21/targeted-imprisoned-deported-dead-how-ices-detention-can-be-deadly-to-migrants-human-rights-advocate-durvi-martinez-was-first-detained-by-vermont-state-police-then-ice-stepped-in/ | 2022-05-18T02:52:05+00:00
To access this feature you must login or create an account.