First Amendment Case Update

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Photo by Erik McGregor

On August 14, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard oral argument in Ragbir v. Homan, the First Amendment case filed by Ravi and immigrant rights groups, CASA, Detention Watch Network, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, New York Immigration Coalition and New Sanctuary Coalition (the “plaintiffs”).

William Perdue of Arnold & Porter deftly argued before a packed courthouse that Ravi and the New Sanctuary Coalition should receive a stay of deportation. Perdue stated that there is strong evidence that the government retaliated against Ravi because he has been outspoken about the injustices of our current immigration system and he, the New Sanctuary Coalition, and the community have exposed ICE’s cruel and unjust practices.

Despite overwhelming evidence of retaliation, the government, represented by Steven Kochevar, emphasized that it should have the power to immediately arrest, detain and deport someone–like Ravi–with a final order of deportation. The government also could not promise the Court that it would not arrest, detain and deport Ravi if his current stay of deportation ends.

At the end of the hearing, over a hundred supporters of Ravi and the First Amendment held a press conference and rally in Foley Square, which culminated in a recitation of the First Amendment in English and Spanish, led by Ravi and renowned immigrant and reproductive rights activist, Alejandra Pablos.

THE COURT’S DECISION

On Tuesday, August 15, the Court issued an order in the case. The Court did not issue a decision on whether to grant Ravi a stay of deportation pending an appeal in the case. Instead, the Court asked that Ravi update it immediately if the stay of deportation from the federal court in New Jersey ends.

The Court also decided to expedite the plaintiffs’ appeal and stated that it will schedule oral argument in the case.

Please be on the lookout for an oral argument date in the coming months.

RAVI’S NEXT REPORT DATE

Currently, Ravi is scheduled to report to ICE for deportation on September 7, 2018. However, because there is a stay of deportation currently in place, that report date may be rescheduled. But we will always be prepared. Please look out for updates & information about actions on September 7th.

Thank you for all of your continued support as we stand up on behalf of the First Amendment rights of all our community members. We are truly grateful.

Press Advisory: Immigrants Stand Up for Their First Amendment Rights As Federal Appeals Court Hears Arguments in Ragbir v. Homan

courthouseWhen and Where:  Tuesday, August 14, 2018

  • 10:00 a.m. Hearing at Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, 40 Foley Square, Manhattan, NY (observers are encouraged to arrive at at 9:00 a.m. to get through security.)
  • 11:00 a.m. Press Conference and Rally at Foley Square, Manhattan, NY, near 26 Federal Plaza

New York, NY: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will hear oral arguments in Ragbir v. Homan, a First Amendment lawsuit filed against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for its use of deportation and enforcement measures to “disappear” or silence its critics, namely directly-affected immigrant leaders who speak out against the agency’s policies and the deportation machine. The lawsuit was filed by nationally recognized immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir, along with immigrant rights organizations New Sanctuary Coalition, CASA, Detention Watch Network, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the New York Immigration Coalition (the “plaintiffs”).

Ragbir v. Homan challenges the unlawful targeting of immigrant rights activists who have spoken out against the federal government’s immigration policies. As part of that lawsuit, plaintiffs sought a “stay of removal” for Ravi Ragbir, Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition , who was abruptly targeted for deportation in January 2018 a decade after he was given an order of supervision to live and work in the U.S.  Mr. Ragbir is one of many outspoken immigrant rights leaders who has been similarly targeted nationwide. A district court denied the plaintiffs the initial protections they sought, including a stay for Mr. Ragbir, concluding that it did not have the power to review the government’s actions. The plaintiffs appealed and now seek a motion for a stay of Mr. Ragbir’s removal from the appellate court.

Community members are invited to listen and observe the plaintiffs’ co-counsel, Arnold & Porter, argue before the Second Circuit why the Court should grant Mr. Ragbir a stay of deportation until ICE can prove that its attempt to deport Mr. Ragbir was not in retaliation for his free speech.  

Following the hearing, immigrant rights leaders, activists, and prominent First Amendment lawyers will denounce the federal government’s attempts to deny immigrants access to federal courts and their first amendment protections. Speakers will include Ravi Ragbir, immigrant and reproductive rights activist Alejandra Pablos, the National Lawyers’ Guild National Immigration Project, the New York Immigration Coalition, and more. Under the U.S. Constitution, everyone in the United States–regardless of immigration status–is entitled to First Amendment rights.

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Watch: Abolish ICE, Abolish Borders

On January 11, 2018, immigrants rights activist Ravi Ragbir was detained by ICE during a routine check in. Organizing and legal advocacy led to him winning his freedom 18 days later. Ravi Ragbir is the ED of the New Sanctuary Coalition, which organizes and fights alongside families and communities resisting caging and deportation. He still faces deportation.

Update on Ravi’s First Amendment Case

sealOn Wednesday, May 23rd, the Honorable Kevin Castel of the Federal District Court of the Southern District of New York denied Mr. Ragbir and others’ request for a preliminary and permanent injunction to prevent ICE from deporting Mr. Ragbir unless ICE could demonstrate that its actions were untainted by unlawful retaliation against Mr. Ragbir for exercising his First Amendment Rights to speak out against the injustices of our immigration system. Judge Castel’s ruling does not foreclose Mr. Ragbir and plaintiff organizations’ additional claims, which aim to vindicate the rights of immigrants who have been targeted by ICE on the basis of their protected speech regarding U.S. immigration law and policy. Judge Castel issued his ruling despite six amici briefs—including from faith leaders, several immigrant rights organizations, and local, state and federal elected officials–detailing the chilling effect that ICE’s targeting of immigrant activists has had on communities nationwide. Plaintiffs intend to appeal Judge Castel’s decision.

Ravi continues to have a stay of deportation pending the outcome of his case in the district court for the Federal District of New Jersey, where he seeks to vacate the underlying conviction which serves as the basis for his removal order because of fundamental errors that occurred during the original proceeding.

May 11 in NYC: The People’s Press Conference

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New Sanctuary Coalition NYC will hold the #PeoplesPressConference in Foley Square on Friday May 11 at 10a.m., just outside of ICE regional headquarters at 26 Federal Plaza. Statements and testimonials will be read by people and their families who have survived the violence of deportation.

We will hear the stories of those on the front lines of liberty, immigrants leading the fight for their own liberation, who are in turn fighting for the emancipation of the entire world from the tyranny of borders.

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#NationalJerichoWalk in Pictures and Video

Around the country, people participated in the #NationalJerichoWalk on May 1st and 3rd. Check out more at the links below:

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Photos from Williston, VT Jericho Walk on May 3rd