FOR RELEASE MARCH 7,2018
The Rutgers Law School International Human Rights Clinic filed an amicus brief on behalf of law scholars and human rights advocates in support of Ravi Ragbir, an immigrants’ rights activist who was recently released from detention after his abrupt and unconstitutional arrest by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). Mr. Ragbir is scheduled to be deported on March 15, 2018.
In its “friend of the court” amicus brief, the Rutgers Clinic argues that international law places great value on “political speech,” including criticizing United States immigration policy, and requires that Mr. Ragbir be allowed to speak without fear of retaliation. The Rutgers Clinic also argues that it is hypocritical for the U.S. to deport Ragbir for speaking about one of the country’s most important public policy issues, while simultaneously criticizing governments around the world for jailing advocates who speak publicly about the need for legal reform. In addition, the Clinic argues that Mr. Ragbir was targeted because of his prominent activism.
“This is a man who is a community leader and poses no threat to anyone. He advocates for legal reform in the most peaceful and constructive manner, and is well within his rights to do so,” said Professor Penny Venetis, Director of the Clinic. “International law protects immigrants in the United States from being retaliated against because of their political speech.”
The International Human Rights Clinic pursues cases and projects in U.S. domestic courts and international tribunals to address civil rights and human rights violations occurring within and beyond U.S. borders. It has litigated cutting-edge cases, including the landmark Hawa Abdi Jama v. United States INS, 22 F. Supp. 2d 353 (D.N.J. 1998), which held that detained immigrants are protected from abuse by international law.
Ragbir is the Executive Director of The New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC, an interfaith network of congregations, organizations, and individuals, who support people resisting detention and deportation. He is married to a Rutgers Law graduate Amy Gottlieb ’96, who is an associate regional director of American Friends Service Committee.
Eight Rutgers Law students from the Clinic contributed to the brief. The new hearing is scheduled for March 15, 2018.