CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Jan. 7, 2010: Eight members of the clergy and two community activists in New York were on Wednesday arrested by members of the New York Police Department for protesting the deportation of a Haitian activist.
Rev. Donna Schaper of the Judson Memorial Church was among those arrested as she and dozens of others protested the detention of Haitian national, Jean Montrevil, who is facing deportation for a decades old drug conviction.
The New Sanctuary Movement, which organized the demonstration and was co-founded by Montrevil, said in a news release that those arrested had been `stopping traffic for a half hour to prevent vans (from) transporting new immigrant detainees` to the Varick Street Federal Detention Facility.
The group said Montrevil has been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials since Dec. 30.
He is married to an American woman and the father of 4. But the green card holder has been ordered deported because of a 1989 drug conviction for which he served 11 years in prison. He is being held at a Pennsylvania immigration jail and had started a hunger strike along with other prisoners.
Montrevil was arrested at age 19 and convicted of selling cocaine. Now 24 years later, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency wants to send Montrevil, now 41, back to Haiti citing the immigration laws which makes him deportable as a immigrant who committed a crime.
`I am being arrested because it is a moral outrage that our government would do this to such a great man and father,` said Rev. Schaper. ‘These immigration laws that destroy families contradict the values we should uphold as a society. They need to change now,` she said as she was standing, arms linked with others, in the street.
USICE says Montrevil is simply a convicted felon and is deportable.