By Anne Galloway, VTDigger
Gov. Phil Scott said he was not surprised by President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from certain Muslim countries, but he is “disappointed about the tone and the direction this sets for us.”
“I think immigration is part of the path forward for us,” Scott said. “In Vermont, [immigration] would be extremely helpful for our economy, and this pushes us in the wrong direction … I made a commitment to protect all Vermonters, and I believe we have a moral obligation to do so,” Scott continued.
Scott has directed his general counsel and Tom Anderson, the commissioner of the Dept. of Public Safety, to review the executive orders “to see what situation that puts us in.”
Burlington and other cities in Vermont are weighing whether to provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants. Trump’s executive order bars so-called sanctuary cities from receiving federal funds.
About a third of Vermont’s budget is federally funded. If the state were to become a sanctuary for immigrants and refused to comply with national enforcement actions requiring the deportation of undocumented immigrants, the Trump administration could block or reduce funding to Vermont. It’s unclear whether the order would apply only to funding relevant to federal immigration efforts or would be extended to other federally funded state programs.
Scott demurred when asked if Vermont could become a sanctuary state. “To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure. We rely an incredible amount on federal funds,” Scott said. “We want to make sure we protect our resources. We have to look at the ramifications of being a sanctuary state and what that really means.”
Photo by Adam Federman, VTDigger
Supporters of refugee resettlement display a sign during a rally Saturday, Jan. 28, in Rutland.