New York, NY — In response to the targeting of immigrant rights activists by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement, numerous faith leaders, religious institutions, elected officials, civic organizations, and legal scholars have filed legal briefs with a federal appeals court in Ragbir v. Homan to condemn the government’s violation of the First Amendment.
These amicus curiae (“friend of court”) briefs support plaintiffs Ravi Ragbir, the New Sanctuary Coalition, CASA, Detention Watch Network, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the New York Immigration Coalition.
The lawsuit before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction restraining the government from taking further action to effectuate a deportation order against Mr. Ragbir, the Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition and an outspoken advocate for immigrants’ and human rights.
There remains a case pending before the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York, which also seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction restraining the government from selectively enforcing immigration laws against individuals based on protected political speech.
The law firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP filed an amicus brief on behalf of over 60 faith leaders and 6 religious institutions and membership organizations; the firm of Covington & Burling LLP filed an amicus brief on behalf of 35 local, state and federal elected officials; and the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis filed on behalf of 25 organizations from across the United States dedicated to organizing communities struggling with burdens imposed by immigration laws and policies.
Rutgers Law School International Human Rights Clinic filed an amicus brief on behalf of Emilio and Oscar Gutiérrez-Soto, political asylum seekers detained for nine months by ICE, and released only after a federal court in Texas found sufficient “temporal proximity” between amici’s political speech and ICE’s detention and attempted deportation of them.
In addition, First Amendment scholars at the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown University Law Center, the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center filed an amicus brief arguing that the use of deportation as a retaliatory tool against nonviolent activists, like Mr. Ragbir, is outrageous and the kind of conduct that the U.S. typically condemns.
Oral argument in the case has been set in the Second Circuit, located at 40 Foley Square, for October 29, 2018. Plaintiffs encourage members of the community to attend. For more information and updates, please visit istandwithravi.org.