Attack on First Amendment rights of immigrant leader

Marú Mora-Villalpando.
PHOTO/ENRIQUE CERNA, CROSSCUT

 

Editor’s note: This statement is xcerpted from a press release by Latinx Organizaton

“ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) 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,” said Marú Mora-Villalpando. Marú has been served with deportation papers because of her anti-ICE organizing. At her first hearing in Seattle on March 15, she asked the immigration judge to throw out the deportation case against her, in a court filing that cites unlawful targeting of her protected First Amendment activity. The judge gave May 22 as the date he could give a decision on her motion. The judge gave ICE April 9 as a date to respond to Marú’s motion.

Marú-Villalpando leads Northwest Detention Center Resistance (NWDC), an organization she co-founded when immigrants held at the Northwest Detention Center began a series of hunger strikes in 2014 protesting their inhumane treatment. The group’s effective organizing brought to light the abuses faced by immigrants in the now-infamous Tacoma, WA, facility.

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

Elizabeth Simpson, a member of Mora-Villalpando’s legal team and attorney with the National Lawyers Guild, added, “By targeting Marú because of her political activism, ICE is threatening our fundamental right to free speech and assembly.” Devin Theriot-Orr, also a member of the legal team, stated, “ICE’s actions in Marú’s case are a transparent attempt to stifle dissent by targeting specific political viewpoints for retaliatory action.”

Marú, who has lived in the U.S. for 25 years, works with NWDC Resistance and is a founding member of the national Latinx organization. Contact her at maruvillalpando@gmail.com. Donate to Marú’s defense at youcaring.com/marumoravillalpando-1071888

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