Press Release: Opposition Grows Against ICE’s Aggressive Targeting of Immigrant Rights Activists

Community Organizations Across the U.S. Join Together To Condemn the Recent Actions of ICE and Demand the Department of Homeland Security Reverse the Agency’s Unlawful Operations

New York, NY:  Over 1,800 community organizations, immigrant rights groups, faith-based organizations, immigrant rights lawyers, professors, and community supporters from 50 states have submitted a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen condemning the targeting of leaders in the movement for immigrant rights in the United States. The letter calls for the immediate release of Ravi Ragbir and Eliseo Jurado Fernandez from immigration detention, the return of Jean Montrevil from Haiti, and a halt to the effort to deport Maru Mora-Villalpando, all immigrant rights leaders who have been targeted for deportation in recent weeks.

Ravi Ragbir is Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition and was detained by ICE on January 11th. He is currently being held in the Orange County Correctional Facility in Goshen, NY. Via phone, Ravi said “The powerful community response has inspired me. It is clear that this energy is not going to go away – we are going to grow and get stronger and continue fighting for fairness and humanity in our immigration policy and we will see a world in which all people are treated with dignity and respect.”

Jean Montrevil is co-founder of the New Sanctuary Coalition. He was arrested by Immigration and Customs officers on January 3rd and deported to Haiti on January 16. Jean stated, “My heart is broken. My family is broken. My kids life will never be the same. It is very sad to watch America moving to this direction. They came for me because I spoke out against injustice and broken immigration laws. Little did they know my supporters will continue to fight even more.”

Maru Mora-Villalpando leads Northwest Detention Center Resistance (NWDCR), a Tacoma organization that advocates for better treatment and conditions for detained immigrants and to stop the deportations that are tearing families apart. From Seattle, Maru said via text message, “I feel overwhelmed with love and support from so many, in so many different places. The reaction from our communities tells me we are in the path of liberation, that we are harvesting what we sow. People agree with us, these attacks are retaliation against our migrant justice work, and it won’t work because we all together will resist and ultimately win.”

Eliseo Jurado is the husband of immigrant rights activist Ingrid Encalada Latorre, who has taken sanctuary in Colorado churches since December 2016. Ingrid has publicly fought her own deportation based on a non-violent criminal offense.

The 1,800 organizations and individuals submitting the letter to DHS call for justice for these immigrant rights leaders, and an end to these practices. As the letter states, “DHS’s effort to silence political opposition through coercive government power sadly echoes some of the most shameful periods in our nation’s history. Our Constitution holds most dear the right of the people to come together and raise their voices in dissent. The viability of our democracy depends on the most robust protections for such dissent.”