90 Miles From Tyranny : The Trump Administration Just Gave High-Profile Illegal Immigrant Activists Some Really Bad News

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Trump Administration Just Gave High-Profile Illegal Immigrant Activists Some Really Bad News

Immigration authorities have detained in recent weeks two prominent activists who are themselves illegal immigrants, demonstrating the Trump administration’s commitment to expand the pool of deportable aliens.

The arrested men have openly lived in the U.S. for years and have until recently enjoyed a de facto immunity from deportation, thanks to their status as high-profile immigrants’ rights activists.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have denied the arrests are politically motivated, but they clearly show that immigration agents are now emboldened to arrest even the most connected of illegal immigrants.

Both men are leaders of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, a network of religious and social organizations that works to prevent the detention and deportation of illegal immigrants. ICE officers first detained Jean Montrevil, a Haitian national who had lived in the U.S. since 1986 despite having served a prison term for drug possession that resulted in a deportation order.

Montrevil, who co-founded the New Sanctuary coalition, was taken into custody in early January near his home in Queens, touching off a firestorm of protest. Activists accused ICE of breaking an “understanding” that Montrevil would not be arrested while he appealed his order of removal. Despite the public outcry, ICE deported Montrevil to Haiti on Tuesday.

The week before Montrevil’s removal, ICE arrested Ravidath Ragbir during his check-in with officials at the ICE office in New York.

The executive director of New Sanctuary and the public face of immigration activism in New York City, Ragbir came to the U.S. in 1991 as a legal permanent resident, but he was ordered deportation in 2006 following a wire fraud conviction for which he served a two-and-a-half year prison sentence.

In 2011, the New York field office of ICE granted Ragbir a stay of removal. Then, last April, the Trump administration granted an extension of that stay, but only until Jan. 19, according to The New York Times.

Ragbir’s fellow immigration activists have painted his arrest as an “arbitrary and cruel” detention. Alina Das, Ragbir’s attorney, says he would not have been targeted under the Obama administration, which prioritized deportation of...Read More HERE