Tacoma, WA – At least 120 detained migrants in four units at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) have begun a hunger strike to protest the abuses they face inside the facility, which is owned and operated by GEO Group, a private prison company, for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The strike comes at the heels of a work stoppage on Wednesday February 7th by detained people who work in the kitchen and just days after NWDC Resistance held a People’s Tribunal in front of the NWDC.
Leaders of the strike report continued inhumane conditions and abuse at NWDC. Strikers are demanding GEO Group provide edible, nutritious food and emphasized the egregiousness of GEO’s practices by saying “food has gotten so bad it makes people sick. Food served in the hole [solitary confinement] is hardly enough, as we received smaller portions than people in general population.” The use of isolation, particularly as a form of retaliation, is a prevalent issue at NWDC. Strikers have also reported that GEO guards constantly search the beds and units of detained people without reason nor explanation and demand an end to these searches.
Ravi Ragbir has the freedom to say goodbye to his loved ones, and he enjoys the right to hug his wife and child before he is deported. So argued U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest last month when she ordered the immediate release of Ragbir, an immigrant rights activist facing deportation, from a correctional facility in Orange County New York. Ragbir’s “unnecessary detention” by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), added Forrest, also raised “grave concerns” that he was targeted by the agency for his for immigration advocacy—a practice she associated with America’s worst enemies.
This week the New Sanctuary Coalition, a New York City immigrant rights group where Ragbir serves as executive director, announced that his days to say farewell are numbered. Ragbir, the group said, is scheduled for deportation to his native Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday, February 10. His removal would cap a monthlong flurry of developments that have seen Ragbir detained after a routine check-in at ICE offices in New York, flown to a detention facility in Miami without notice to his wife or attorneys, returned to New York a week later, and released by Forrest’s order.
New York, NY — Immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir, together with the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, CASA de Maryland, Detention Watch Network, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the New York Immigration Coalition, filed suit (Ragbir v. Homan) in federal district court in the Southern District of New York today to challenge the recent targeting of immigrant rights activists by federal immigration officials. Pending briefing and consideration of a preliminary injunction motion, the government has agreed to stay Mr. Ragbir’s deportation temporarily.
Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) today introduced H.R. 4937, a private immigration bill, on the floor of the House of Representatives. If signed into law, H.R. 4937 would provide Ravidath “Ravi” Ragbir, a nationally recognized immigrant rights leader who faces imminent deportation, with an avenue to permanent immigration status. Should ICE deport Mr. Ragbir, which could happen as early as Saturday, February 10, H.R. 4937 would still have effect and provide Mr. Ragbir with a right of return.
Mr. Ragbir, Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, was detained on January 11, 2018, at a routine ICE check-in in New York City. His detention was part of what growing numbers of elected officials, faith leaders, and community organizations are calling a surge of retaliation by ICE against outspoken immigrant rights activists who are vulnerable to deportation. Mr. Ragbir’s legal team from the Immigrant Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law won his release from detention on January 29, 2018, only to learn that ICE was ordering Mr. Ragbir to report for deportation on February 10.
Yale’s Linsly-Chittenden Hall 102 was filled to the brim Saturday afternoon, as students took the stage one-by-one to criticize Yale’s investments in areas ranging from the fossil fuel industry to the debts of distressed government.
The teach-in, titled “Inside Yale’s $27,000,000,000,” featured representatives from a coalition of student organizations, including Fossil Free Yale, Yale Students for Prison Divestment, Yale Young Democratic Socialists and the Association of Native Americans at Yale. With vibrant photos and precise figures, students delved into public records of Yale’s endowment investments and argued that many of the University’s holdings are harming the environment, the criminal justice system and the Puerto Rican economy, among other areas. In addition to airing concerns about endowment investment, students urged Yale to declare the campus a sanctuary for undocumented people and to pay more taxes to support the Elm City.
“How might we as students reimagine Yale’s endowment?” Cassie Darrow ’19 said in her opening address. “Knowing that a slave trader, Philip Livingstone, endowed the first professorship at Yale and that profits made from slave labor laid the basis for endowment, how might we reimagine Yale’s endowment as a tool for reparations, for restorative justice?”
DWN’s #ICEonTrial campaign launches this Sunday in Tacoma, WA.
NWDC Resistance will be kicking off the campaign with the first of a series of people’s tribunals at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers or field offices. These tribunals will serve to amplify the demands and voices of people directly impacted by the detention system, expose egregious abuses by ICE and their cronies, and make clear that true justice comes from the people!
Through #ICEonTrial we will bring together all sectors of our network to strengthen and increase impact of the campaign. To compliment the tribunals, the campaign will include robust efforts of documentation of abuses in the detention system, legal strategies, advocacy with oversight mechanisms including local targets, Members of Congress and the Office of Inspector General, and communications work to shift the narrative and amplify our goals.