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.
Ravi had been scheduled to report to ICE on September 7th. His report date has been postponed until October 12th at 10:00 a.m. Please mark this date on your calendars.
In the meantime, we are continuing to fight against ICE’s cruel and unjust practices. In the lawsuit challenging ICE’s retaliation against Ravi and other activists, Ravi and several immigrant rights organizations filed their opening brief to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit arguing why the federal court should restrain ICE from retaliatory enforcement against Ravi for engaging in political speech critical to American democracy.
We anticipate that a hearing in this case will be scheduled in the near future, and will update you accordingly.
While we continue our fight in the courts, we know that it is the power of community support that will keep Ravi here and shed light on the injustice of ICE’s efforts to detain and deport people in darkness.
We urge you to stay vigilant, and will be in touch shortly with upcoming actions to support Ravi and others.
In the meantime, please also save the date for the New Sanctuary Gala, to be held on Thursday, November 8, 2018. Get your tickets here.
On Thursday, May 3, faith communities and immigrant rights advocates in cities across the country, including Boulder, Milwaukee, New York and Savannah, will take part in the first annual National Jericho Walk*, a silent, peaceful, interfaith prayerful walk held in communities to show solidarity with immigrants facing deportation and detention. The walk draws inspiration from the Battle of Jericho, in which the community marched around the city of Jericho seven times, causing its walls to fall.
The National Jericho Walk, organized by New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, is part of an effort to show solidarity with immigrants rights leaders who have been targeted for speaking out against the injustices and inhumanity of our broken immigration system and who call for an immigration law and policy that respect the dignity of all immigrants.
The peaceful walk and prayer vigils held in support of a federal lawsuit brought by renowned immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir and several immigrant rights organizations that challenges the government’s effort to silence those voices calling out the injustices of the immigration system. The plaintiffs in Ragbir v. Homan seek, among other things, a court order restraining the government from selectively enforcing immigration laws against individuals based on protected political speech.
WHEN: 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday, May 3
WHERE: New York Immigration Court, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, New York
WHAT: National Jericho Walk, a silent, interfaith prayerful vigil and walk around the New York Immigration Court.
*A list of national events can be found at this link: bit.ly/nationaljerichowalk-cities
The Rev. Kaji Douša is Senior Minister of Park Avenue Christian Church offered the following at the “Justice for Ravi” rally at Rutgers Law School:
Once upon a time, I was neutral on immigration.
Quite frankly, I hid behind “the law” to excuse my inaction.
My friend Ravi Ragbir, taught me – and, leading the Sanctuary movement, all of New York City – to rethink my position on “the law”.
After all, as Ravi gently reminded me and so many others, THE LAW – as originally conceived in these lands – wanted me to understand myself to be a fraction of a human.