Opinion

Columnist questions ‘Welcoming’ Hartford’s treatment of summer folks

Town that won’t tell feds about illegal immigrants now keeps tabs on second-home owners

Guy Page

A Windsor County town adopted a “welcoming” ordinance for illegal immigrants now wants all second-home owners to report in when they arrive in town, Valley News columnist Jim Kenyon wrote May 5.

The Town of Hartford (a/k/a White River Junction) is located next to Dartmouth College and is noted for its progressive policies. 

Last year it adopted a policy saying that local police may not share information about a person’s citizenship with federal authorities. Town Manager Brannon Godfrey’s disagreement with this highly controversial decision was the main reason for his resigning last month, according to an April 30 report in the Valley News.

Now Kenyon, a longstanding columnist for the daily Valley News and other area publications, wonders why the same town that is hands-off about illegal immigrants has sent a letter to second-home owners inquiring about their whereabouts. He writes:

Still, asking non-resident homeowners to supply their name, address and phone number “so that we can be aware of your presence in the community” seems at odds with the spirit of the town’s recently adopted “welcoming” ordinance.

What if the town asked undocumented immigrants for their contact information, when they arrived in Hartford and from where?

No doubt the coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented, but collecting this type of personal information without strict controls on its use and how it’s kept sets a dangerous precedent.

Hartford’s second-homeowners pay property taxes and participate in our communities when they’re here — including spending money — so anything that smacks of singling them out is neither wise nor fair.

Categories: Opinion

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