In Dummerston, Town Leaders Support Couple Facing Deportation

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(Host) Local officials in Dummerston are showing support for a lesbian couple currently involved in a deportation dispute. 

Frances Herbert and Takako Ueda got married last April. In December, their application for a spousal green card was turned down.

The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and overrides Vermont’s same-sex marriage law.

Federal immigration authorities have told Ueda she needs to return to her native Japan. Her deportation would split up the couple, who’ve been together more than a decade.

Last week, the Select Board passed a resolution which says Herbert and Ueda should be allowed to stay in Dummerston.

Ezekiel Goodband is a farmer and member of Dummerston’s Select Board. He wrote the resolution, which the Board approved unanimously and, he says, enthusiastically.

(Goodband) "We’d be diminished by their absence, and we urge the United States Citizens Immigration Services to grant Takako deferred action and that would allow Takako and Frances to remain together in their home among friends and neighbors in Dummerston."

(Host) Goodband says he dreads the idea of seeing Ueda being escorted away by immigration officials.

(Goodband) "Had we done nothing I would have felt great regret. We’re a small town. We have just over 1,800 people, and while we have some agriculture land, and some forest land – two nice rivers run through our town – our greatest natural resource is the people that live here."

(Host)  Vermont’s congressional delegation has recently written letters in support of the couple’s appeal.

Dummerston’s resolution stresses that Herbert and Ueda are integral members of the community who enrich the lives of their neighbors.

You’ll find Dummerston’s town meeting warning and much more coverage of Town Meeting Day issues at Public Post, VPR’s local news service. 

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