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A federal judge temporarily stayed the deportation order for New Sanctuary Coalition executive director Ravi Ragbir on Friday, only one day before he was scheduled to be deported. He's one of a growing number of immigrants whose scheduled deportations -- both individual or en masse -- have been halted by federal judges in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan and Florida. For more on the legal battle against Trump's mass deportation efforts, we speak with Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project; Seth Kaper-Dale, pastor of the Reformed Church of Highland Park; and Ravi Ragbir, executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I'm Amy Goodman, with Juan Gonzalez.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, a federal judge has stayed the deportation of immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir, after he filed a free-speech lawsuit charging the Trump administration of targeting immigrant rights activists with surveillance and deportation. I want to list some of the other outspoken immigrants who have been targeted by ICE, as laid out by Nick Pinto in The Intercept.
"Daniela Vargas, a 22-year-old activist who came to the United States from Argentina when she was seven, was detained by ICE agents last March as she was leaving a news conference in Jackson, Mississippi, where she had spoken on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that stayed her own deportation for lacking immigration status.
"The same month, in Vermont, ICE arrested Jose' Enrique Balcazar Sanchez and Zully Victoria Palacios Rodriguez, two leading organizers with Migrant Justice, a workers rights organization. Palacios Rodriguez's lawyer, Matt Cameron, told the Boston Globe that the offense she was arrested for -- overstaying her visa by some eight months -- wouldn't usually attract ICE's attention, and that it's especially unusual for such a person to be held without bail, as his client was.
"A couple months later, two more Migrant Justice activists, Yesenia Hernandez-Ramos and Esau Peche-Ventura, were arrested by a Border Patrol agent and transferred to ICE custody after taking part in a march outside a Ben and Jerry's plant to demand better working conditions for farmworkers supplying milk to the ice cream giant.
"In December, ICE began deportation proceedings against Maru Mora-Villalpando, a 47-year-old activist who came from Mexico more than 25 years ago and is an outspoken critic of ICE's deportation and detention practices in the Seattle area.
"Also in December, Baltazar Aburto Gutierrez, a 35-year-old clam harvester in Washington state, was detained after he was quoted in local papers talking about his girlfriend's recent deportation. 'You're the one from the newspaper,' Aburto Gutierrez says the ICE agent who detained him said. 'My supervisor asked me to come find you because of what appeared in the newspaper.'
"In January, ICE agents in Colorado arrested Eliseo Jurado after his wife Ingrid Encalada Latorre publicly took sanctuary in a Boulder church to avoid deportation to Peru."
That is all from Nick Pinto's article in The Intercept titled "ICE Is Targeting Political Opponents for Deportation, Ravi Ragbir and Rights Groups Say in Court."
Ravi, this amazing list of activists being rounded up, essentially, by ICE around the country, your reaction?
RAVI RAGBIR: Well, what we are seeing here is, you know, a state of fear that they're trying to create by taking people away. Maru has always been a -- I know Maru. We have been in many conferences together. And she has always been outspoken. And to send her a notice to appear, and also that she is in a removal proceeding, is a direction -- shows the direction the agency is heading to. Look at the resources they allocated to deport me. You are seeing that this is an intensification against the immigrant community. You know, you heard a quote from the president: "Where is the due process?" Well, we should be asking: Where is the due process in what we are seeing?
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