NATIONAL SUPPORT SURGES AS NINE MORE NEW YORKERS ARE ARRESTED TO FREE DETAINED COMMUNITY LEADER JEAN MONTREVIL
Congressmembers, National Organizations and over 1,300 petitioners urge ICE to listen to the community
NY, NY Jan. 7, 2010 – With their heads bowed in prayer, nine more New Yorkers were arrested today for blocking traffic outside the Varick Street Detention Center in support of their friend Jean Montrevil, who has been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation to Haiti. An impassioned crowd rallied outside the building, singing and praying during the arrests. Montrevil was detained at Varick Street on December 30 and has been transferred to a detention cell in York, PA, awaiting deportation.
Like the ten people arrested on Tuesday at a similar rally, today’s arrestees included clergy – three today, eight on Tuesday.
Popular and political support for this campaign has continued to surge in recent days.
Since Tuesday’s arrests, over 1,300 people have signed an on-line petition, and over 60 organizations from across the country have pledged their support for Montrevil’s return to his family, calling upon ICE to grant him discretionary relief from deportation.
U.S. Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Charles Rangel, Nydia Velazquez, Jose Serrano, and Yvette Clarke, NY State Senator Tom Duane, and City Council members Rosie Mendez and Melissa Mark-Viverito are all actively advocating for Jean’s release. As Councilmember Mark-Viverito stated today, “I want to add my voice with all the supporters and our elected officials. We all know that our immigration system is extremely dysfunctional and is tearing our families apart…We need to increase the pressure to ensure that the system is reformed.”
Although actions have escalated, ICE has not yet responded to community demands.
Rev. Donna Schaper, senior minister at Judson Memorial Church where Montrevil’s family worships, who was arrested at Tuesday’s rally, stated today: “We are encouraged by the powerful support of our local elected officials. We are discouraged that a federal agency sees no reason to return our phone calls, emails, faxes, or letters. We are amazed at the support of this community for Jean and his family, and we will not stop until he is back with them.”
Supporters have been contacting ICE leadership in Washington DC, including Director John Morton and Head of the Office of Detention and Removal Operations, David Venturella.
Jean Montrevil is a Brooklyn resident, a green card-holding immigrant since 1986, is married to a U.S. citizen and is raising their four U.S. citizen children. Montrevil is a national leader with Detention Watch Network, Families for Freedom, and a co-founder of the NYC New Sanctuary Coalition. He is a business owner and a family man, known for his service to the community. His wife, Jani Montrevil, is a U.S. citizen, as are all
fourteen of his siblings, including his twin sister.
ICE is trying to de-legalize Mr. Montrevil on account of a drug conviction from 1989, which he received as a youth and for which he ha already served his time. But the growing ranks of Montrevil’s supporters insist that both fairness and family unity are pillars of a healthy society.
Rev. Sherrilyn Posey, who was among those arrested today explained: “We went inside so Jean could come outside.” In addition, supporters are demanding reformed immigration laws that will keep families like Montrevil’s together.
Supporters vow to continue contacting ICE, demonstrating, and engaging in non-violent civil disobedience until Montrevil is released from detention.
LINK TO JEAN’S E-PETITION, here:
VIDEO OF JAN. 5th ARRESTS, here:
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