The Trump administration is continuing its immoral and, in some cases, illegal crackdown on immigration with a brand new low. Events in the past week indicate that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under President Donald Trump’s advisement are specifically targeting prominent immigrant rights activists for deportation.
In New York City this week ICE detained Ravi Ragbir, the executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, during a routine check-in. Ragbir received a stay of deportation that was valid until January 19, but they detained him anyway. ICE officials won’t explain why they arrested Ragbir eight days in advance of that date.
Ragbir’s detention prompted a protest from supporters who accompanied him to the check-in. Videos showed police using excessive force and dozens were arrested, including two New York City Council Members. Ragbir, a U.S. resident of 25 years, is from Trinidad and Tobago.
ICE also arrested Jean Montrevil, another prominent immigrant rights activist. They deported Montrevil to Haiti on Tuesday, abruptly ending his three-decade stay in America.
Although both men are legal residents, ICE targeted them for deportation because of prior criminal convictions as per the Trump administration’s regressive immigration policies.
Montrevil told Democracy Now:
“It was very hard to travel. I don’t know what to tell you, that it was very hard. Imagine staying up for two days straight, with no food and shackled up and with no explanation.”
Maru Mora-Villalpando, the leader of the organization Northwestern Detention Center Resistance, received a notice from ICE to appear before an immigration judge.
She had this to say about the recent deportations:
“We believe that ICE was created with a specific intention. It’s not only to deport people. It’s to destroy people. They are destroying our families. And now they’re becoming into a full circle to be part of the police regime. We think ICE is nothing but a political oppression apparatus. They’re Trump’s police now.”
“We believe this is a clear targeting of people that have dared to not only question the system, but to fight the system, that we are outspoken, that we are public about it, that we’re not afraid. And it’s obviously clear that they’re going after us right now.”
Many more activists may be facing deportation as well. Not only are the administration’s actions immoral, they stand in contrast to the values that the United States is supposedly founded on.
The midterms are rolling around – be sure to get out and vote, to get out and protest, and to contact your legislators. For some among us, there is no other option but to stand up – the time to act is now.
Featured Image via Youtube Video.