Photos by Mizue Aizeki.
There was a protest in Manhattan today over the detention of Jean Montrevil, a Haitian who has had a green card since 1986 but, owing to a drug conviction for which he served time in the 1990s, has been subject to supervision and was detained by U.S. Immigration authorities on December 30.
Organizers claim attendance outside the Varick Street Immigrant Detention Center of about 100 people, 10 of whom were arrested after failing to heed a police order to disperse as they blocked traffic. Among these were Rev. Donna Schaper (above) of Judson Memorial Church, who said, “I am being arrested because it is a moral outrage that our government would do this to such a great man and father.”
The protest may raise awareness of Montrevil’s case, but it doesn’t look as if it will make much difference in the disposition of it, judging from this statement from Michael W. Gilhooly, Northeast Communications Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:
“Jean Murat Montrevil is an aggravated felon with a significant criminal record who has a final order of removal from an immigration judge,” says Gilhooly. “Montrevil has exhausted all of his appeals and ICE will enforce the immigration judge’s order. One of ICE’s primary missions is to removal foreign national criminals from the United States.”
Among the protesters who were not arrested was musician Dan Zanes (above), who performed for the crowd. Protesters also called for the reform of U.S. immigration laws.
Montrevil, an immigration rights activist whose cause is supported by Representative Nydia Velazquez and state senator Tom Duane, among others , is at Pennsylvania’s York County Prison, where he is said to be on a hunger strike. He has a wife and four children in the U.S.