The Activist Files is a podcast by the Center for Constitutional Rights where we feature the stories of people on the front lines fighting for justice, including activists, lawyers, and artists. We interview movement partners, our clients, and people using storytelling to create change, and look to highlight lesser known aspects of the work. Listen to our latest episode!
On our first episode, we talk with immigrant-rights activist Ravi Ragbir and his partner Amy Gottlieb, about not only their current organizing to stop Ravi’s deportation, but how they stay centered and support each other. Ravi is the Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, and Amy is an Associate Regional Director for the American Friends Service Committee. Ravi has been fighting his own deportation order since 2006, and was recently detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement following a regularly scheduled check-in…
On Friday, March 23rd, the Honorable Kevin McNulty of the Federal District Court of New Jersey granted Mr. Ragbir a stay of deportation pending the Court’s consideration of his underlying legal case, a “coram nobis petition” that challenges fundamental errors in his criminal conviction and sentence. In his order, Judge McNulty emphasized the importance of ensuring access to courts for immigrants in pending cases: “The power to stay removal pending decision of a coram nobis petition is constitutionally required, to the extent it is necessary to ensure due process and meaningful access to the courts.” Judge McNulty granted the stay, noting in part the “irreparable harm” Mr. Ragbir would suffer if deported before his case was fully considered. Judge McNulty’s full opinion can be found here.
In new brief, Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University explain why deportation in retaliation for protected speech violates the First Amendment
The First Amendment prohibits U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE’s) recent practice of targeting immigrants in retaliation for exercising their right to free speech, including on immigration policy, according to a friend-of-the-court brief filed in federal court today. Continue reading
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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 7, 2018
New York, NY — In response to the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s recent targeting of immigrant activists for deportation, civic, political, and religious institutions, together with legal scholars, file legal briefs 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 of New York City, CASA, Detention Watch Network, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the New York Immigration Coalition. The lawsuit seeks, among other forms of relief, a preliminary and permanent injunction restraining the government from taking further action to effectuate a deportation order against Mr. Ragbir, while also seeking 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 curiae brief on behalf of over 130 religious leaders and 4 religious institutions and membership organizations; Covington & Burling LLP filed on behalf of 50 local, state and federal elected officials; and Make the Road NY and the National Immigration Law Center filed on behalf of 21 organizations from across the United States dedicated to organizing communities struggling with burdens imposed by immigration laws and policies. An amicus brief filed by the Rutgers Law School International Human Rights Clinic on behalf of law scholars and human rights advocates is forthcoming. Continue reading