In Alarming New Move, ICE Is Now Going After Immigration Activists

Several immigration rights groups on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for “specifically targeting the most vocal immigration activists” in violation of the First Amendment.

“Defendants have investigated, surveilled, harassed, raided, arrested, detained, and even deported these activists in order to silence them,” the lawsuit, which was first reported by The Intercept, claims. “The Government’s targeting of activists on the basis of their core political speech is unfair, discriminatory, and un-American.”

Among the advocacy groups that filed the suit was the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, whose executive director, Ravi Ragbir, was one of several prominent activists to be detained last month. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest later stayed Ragbir’s deportation, which she deemed “unnecessarily cruel.”

ICE then rescheduled his deportation for Saturday, February 10, but walked back its threat upon learning of the lawsuit.

In the past month, several immigration activists have lodged accusations against ICE similar to those in the lawsuit.

“I’ve no doubt that my political activity in support of immigrants held in detention centers has made me a target,” wrote one such activist, Maru Mora Villalpando, in YES! Magazine. “And I’m not the only activist who has been targeted in this way.”

“I have dedicated my life to the fight for immigrant justice, demanding an end to detention and deportation,” she added. “None of the usual triggers for deportation—contact with the police, raids, prior deportations—apply in my case. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement only knows about me because of my political work.”

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.