Legal Update on First Amendment Case

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LEGAL UPDATE:

Federal Appeals Court Grants Immigrant Rights Activist Ravi Ragbir Stay of Removal

On November 1, 2018,  the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit granted Ravi Ragbir a stay of removal days after hearing oral argument in Ragbir v. Homan, a First Amendment challenge to retaliation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) against immigrant rights activists. The court has not yet issued a ruling on the First Amendment claim. The stay ensures that Mr. Ragbir will not be deported while the case is pending.

Mr. Ragbir, Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, was abruptly detained by ICE in January 2018 for deportation based on a decade-old deportation order. A federal court in New York ordered Mr. Ragbir’s release later that month, and a federal court in New Jersey ordered a stay of removal in a pending case challenging the conviction underlying Mr. Ragbir’s deportation order. ICE has continued, however, to pursue Mr. Ragbir’s deportation, requiring him to report “for removal” if no stay was in place.

In February 2018, Mr. Ragbir, joined by New Sanctuary Coalition, CASA, Detention Watch Network, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and New York Immigration Coalition, sued ICE, arguing that ICE’s actions against Mr. Ragbir and other immigrant activists violated the First Amendment. In May 2018, after a federal court denied the plaintiffs’ request for preliminary protections pending the First Amendment litigation for Mr. Ragbir, the plaintiffs appealed to the Second Circuit and sought a stay while  appeal is pending. The Second Circuit granted a stay on November 1, 2018.

For further information on Mr. Ragbir’s case, please visit: https://istandwithravi.org/category/legal-updates/

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First Amendment Case Update

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Photo by Erik McGregor

On August 14, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard oral argument in Ragbir v. Homan, the First Amendment case filed by Ravi and immigrant rights groups, CASA, Detention Watch Network, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, New York Immigration Coalition and New Sanctuary Coalition (the “plaintiffs”).

William Perdue of Arnold & Porter deftly argued before a packed courthouse that Ravi and the New Sanctuary Coalition should receive a stay of deportation. Perdue stated that there is strong evidence that the government retaliated against Ravi because he has been outspoken about the injustices of our current immigration system and he, the New Sanctuary Coalition, and the community have exposed ICE’s cruel and unjust practices.

Despite overwhelming evidence of retaliation, the government, represented by Steven Kochevar, emphasized that it should have the power to immediately arrest, detain and deport someone–like Ravi–with a final order of deportation. The government also could not promise the Court that it would not arrest, detain and deport Ravi if his current stay of deportation ends.

At the end of the hearing, over a hundred supporters of Ravi and the First Amendment held a press conference and rally in Foley Square, which culminated in a recitation of the First Amendment in English and Spanish, led by Ravi and renowned immigrant and reproductive rights activist, Alejandra Pablos.

THE COURT’S DECISION

On Tuesday, August 15, the Court issued an order in the case. The Court did not issue a decision on whether to grant Ravi a stay of deportation pending an appeal in the case. Instead, the Court asked that Ravi update it immediately if the stay of deportation from the federal court in New Jersey ends.

The Court also decided to expedite the plaintiffs’ appeal and stated that it will schedule oral argument in the case.

Please be on the lookout for an oral argument date in the coming months.

RAVI’S NEXT REPORT DATE

Currently, Ravi is scheduled to report to ICE for deportation on September 7, 2018. However, because there is a stay of deportation currently in place, that report date may be rescheduled. But we will always be prepared. Please look out for updates & information about actions on September 7th.

Thank you for all of your continued support as we stand up on behalf of the First Amendment rights of all our community members. We are truly grateful.

ICE Violating First Amendment by Targeting Immigrant Rights Advocates for Deportation, Legal Groups Say

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via Georgetown Law School:

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