In Seattle, Washington, dozens of people rallied this week at the immigration court where prominent activist Maru Mora-Villalpando was ordered to appear. It was her third hearing since ICE moved to deport her last year, after she organized a series of “resistance workshops” across the state. The judge set another hearing date for November, and Mora-Villalpando vowed to return with more protesters.
Maru Mora-Villalpando: “I think that, in a way, coming to this building to show the epicenter of detentions and deportations in Washington, it’s definitely part of our work, and it benefits our work, because most people didn’t know that this place existed in the first place. They have no idea that this private building hosts many offices of ICE, Homeland Security Investigations and Department of Justice. Here is where decisions are made. And we are very happy to bring people here every time we come and for people to understand that this is another place of resistance.”
Mora-Villalpando also has a pending civil rights lawsuit challenging how ICE surveils, detains and deports outspoken immigrant activists. The case cites the arrest of well-known New York activist Ravi Ragbir at his regular ICE check-in. Last week, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of Ragbir in his own free speech case, saying the First Amendment bars ICE from targeting activists for deportation based on their political speech, and writing, “To allow this retaliatory conduct to proceed would broadly chill protected speech, among not only activists subject to final orders of deportation but also those citizens and other residents who would fear retaliation against others.”