Maru First Immigration hearing on 15 March 2018

by  NWDC Resistance/Resistencia al NWDC 13 March at 15:35·
Maru Mora-Villalpando, a Washington-based organizer facing her first immigration court date, files Motion to Terminate her deportation proceedings, citing First Amendment violations.

WHAT: Press conference featuring Maru Mora-Villalpando, legal representatives, and her supporters. Ms. Mora-Villalpando is scheduled to see an immigration judge that morning, and supporters will rally in support while Ms. Mora-Villalpando goes before the immigration judge.
WHEN: Thursday, March 15th, beginning at 8:00 AM
WHERE: 1000 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104.

Seattle, WA - Maru Mora-Villalpando, who was sent a notice to appear for a deportation hearing in December 2017 due to her “anti-ICE” organizing against immigration detention and deportations, faces her first deportation hearing this Thursday morning at the Seattle Immigration Court. Mora-Villalpando has asked the immigration judge to throw out the deportation case against her, in a court filing that cites Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s unlawful targeting of her protected first amendment activity.

“I have accompanied many people to their check-ins and court dates with ICE. On Thursday, I will face ICE myself for the first time,” stated Mora-Villalpando. “ICE 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,” she concluded.

Mora-Villalpando leads Northwest Detention Center Resistance, an organization that was 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 has brought to light the abuses faced by immigrants in the now-infamous Tacoma facility. The Motion to Terminate filed with the Seattle Immigration Court alleges that Mora-Villalpando is being singled out for deportation by ICE precisely because of her years of political activity against the agency. The Immigration Judge has the authority to terminate Mora-Villalpando deportation proceedings due to this unlawful targeting of her political speech.

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

Elizabeth Simpson, a member of Mora-Villalpando’s legal team and attorney with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, added, “We expect government officials to discharge their duties in a fair and non-discriminatory way. By targeting Maru because of her political activism, ICE is directly contravening that trust, and threatening our fundamental right to free speech and assembly.” Devin Theriot-Orr, also a member of the legal team, stated, “ICE’s actions in Maru’s case are a transparent attempt to stifle dissent by targeting specific political viewpoints for retaliatory action.”

Mora-Villalpando has lived in the U.S. for over 25 years. She lives with her daughter, Josefina, a college student and U.S. citizen, near Seattle, Washington. In addition to working with NWDC Resistance she is a founding member of the national Latinx organization, Mijente.