by Nick Pinto, The Intercept
Do the first amendment’s protections prevent the government from targeting its most vocal critics for deportation? That’s the central question that three judges for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals will be considering Monday, when lawyers for Ravi Ragbir, a New York City immigration activist, will argue for a preliminary injunction to stop Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials from deporting him before he can press his First Amendment claim in court.
In the case, which comes before judges Christopher Droney, Pierre Leval, and John Walker Jr., the government contends that Ragbir’s situation is straightforward: He was issued a final order of removal in 2007 and a federal law passed to prevent protracted legal challenges to deportations all but shuts off any judicial review of immigration authorities’ deportation decisions. “An alien like Ragbir has no constitutional right to assert selective enforcement to prevent his removal from the United States in accordance with a valid order,” the government argues in its brief. The authorities cited a 1999 Supreme Court ruling, which held that the First Amendment claims of people facing deportation for allegedly providing material aid to a foreign terrorist organization didn’t outweigh the government’s national security interests.
Ragbir’s lawyers note that he isn’t accused of contributing to foreign terrorist groups. His work over the past decade — most prominently as the director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York — has been limited to organizing immigrants and advocating against the increasing violence of ICE and the deportation policies it carries out. Ragbir may have a final order of removal, they argue, but so do an estimated 900,000 other people living in the United States. And in the 11 years Ragbir has been under a final order for removal, ICE didn’t try to deport him until this past year — after his organizing garnered headlines and attracted public attention critical of ICE.
Read the full story at The Intercept.