Vermont couple says Border Patrol ruined their wedding

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June 9, 2010, 10:09 pm
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(NECN: Anya Huneke, St. Albans, VT) - A biracial Vermont couple who got married in front of a diverse group of guests last weekend recalls the day with both joy and outrage. Their wedding was interrupted, they say, by federal agents. The reason for the interruption they say, was race.

For their wedding this past Saturday in St. Albans, Vermont, Danielle and Thierno Diallo wanted the festivities - and the guest list - to reflect their ethnicities.
She's a born-and-raised Vermonter... he's from Guinea, West Africa.

Danielle Diallo "It was a gorgeous ceremony... followed by a traditional African drum ceremony."

All was going well, they say, until midway through the reception, when a group of U.S. Border Patrol agents showed up-- responding to a call of suspicious activity.

Thierno "So I come out and they said 'who are you?''I'm the one getting married today .. and you're ruining the whole thing.'"

Danielle "They proceeded to ask for paperwork and if we had people flown in from Africa..."

The Diallos guess there were five or six cars and about 10 officers who showed up and wanted to come inside.  Thierno says he resisted- and asked them to leave... but they stuck around for about 30 or 40 minutes.

Thierno "They started questioning my guests outside... so I told them to get inside..."

Thierno says they checked the identifications of a couple of the outside guests. Border Patrol tells a different story.
A spokesperson says only three agents showed up, checked no Ids, and left after 5 minutes.
He says the agents observed about 15 people outside - many under the influence of alcohol. They advised the guests to find designated drivers.
There was no mention, he says, of anyone's immigration status.

The Diallos say the disruption - which they feel was racially motivated - brought the wedding to an abrupt end... yet left lingering effects.

Danielle "The guests from out of state are leaving with a sour taste-- of how people are treated in Vermont."

The newlyweds, Danielle a hairdresser and Thierno a soccer coach and player, told their story to a small group Wednesday.

Christine SheldonSt. Albans "Black really isn't being accepted like I thought it was... and that's sad."
Especially sad, the Diallos say, on what was supposed to be a day of celebration.

Tags: Anya Huneke, Border Patrol, St. Albans
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