WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont town decided against notifying federal agencies about how its recently adopted ordinance meant to protect undocumented immigrants will impact funding.
Hartford Selectboard members voted 6-to-1 on April 21 in favor of a motion not to send a letter notifying federal grant agencies of the town’s “Welcoming Hartford” ordinance, The Valley News reported.
The ordinance restricts town employees, including police officers, from sharing information about a person’s immigration or citizenship status with federal immigration authorities, which is in conflict with a federal law.
The letter meant to notify officials was drafted by a town attorney and signed by Town Manager Brannon Godfrey, who had originally opposed sending it.
At the selectboard’s April 22 meeting, Godfrey reverted his stance and said that he still has a “responsibility to notify those agencies at least that the ordinance exists.”
Many grant applications require the town be in compliance with all applicable federal laws.
The letter from the selectboard would have asked grant agencies whether the ordinance means they’re not in compliance and therefore not eligible to receive federal grant funding for future town projects.
The decision has been a subject of intense public debate in Hartford since June as well as in other states like Rhode Island.
In addition to deciding not to send the letter, members voted in the same motion to seek consultation from a different attorney on the Welcoming Hartford ordinance in the future.