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Immigrant leader fights for her 1st amendment right

from the Editors  |  Issue: April | May 2018
Maru was targeted by IC

Maru was targeted by ICE for her activism. She has not been the only one, so far this year other leaders are being singled out by ICE and detained. The arrests are an effort to silence leaders and dismantle the pro-immigrant movement.
But the pro-immigrant movement has not stood idly by and is uniting to defend these leaders.


SEATTLE, WA – Maru Mora-Villalpando, who was sent a notice to appear for a deportation hearing in December 2017 due to her “anti-ICE” organizing against immigration detention and deportations, faced her first deportation hearing on March 15 at the Seattle Immigration Court. (At this court date, Maru was given May 22nd as the date the judge could give a decision on her motion).

Mora-Villalpando has asked the immigration judge to throw out the deportation case against her, in a court filing that cites Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s unlawful targeting of her protected first amendment activity.

“I have accompanied many people to their check-ins and court dates with ICE. On Thursday, I will face ICE myself for the first time,” stated Mora-Villalpando. “ICE is going after me and my family because they want to silence my work, which has exposed their cruel, inhumane detention and deportation policies. I will continue this fight because I am one of millions facing ICE’s abuses, and they must be stopped,” she concluded.

The Motion to Terminate filed with the Seattle Immigration Court alleges that Mora-Villalpando is being singled out for deportation by ICE precisely because of her years of political activity against the agency. The Immigration Judge has the authority to terminate Mora-Villalpando deportation proceedings due to this unlawful targeting of her political speech.

Immigrant rights organizers point to the attack on Mora-Villalpando as a sign that ICE has gone beyond seeking to enforce the immigration laws. Tania Unzueta of Mijente, a national Latinx organization observed, “By purposely targeting people such as Maru who are organizing against the Trump administration’s racially-motivated deportation agenda, ICE has officially made the leap into a political repression agency.”

Elizabeth Simpson, a member of Mora-Villalpando’s legal team and attorney with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, added, “We expect government officials to discharge their duties in a fair and non-discriminatory way. By targeting Maru because of her political activism, ICE is directly contravening that trust, and threatening our fundamental right to free speech and assembly.”  Devin Theriot-Orr, also a member of the legal team, stated, “ICE’s actions in Maru’s case are a transparent attempt to stifle dissent by targeting specific political viewpoints for retaliatory action.”

In addition to working with NWDC Resistance she is a founding member of the national Latinx organization, Mijente.

This is the link to donate for Maru’s defense.


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