Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Update, 1/5/10: Immigrant Rights Movement Escalates!

Detained Haitian Immigrant Leader Jean Montrevil Joins Fast for Our Families as 8 NY Clergy Arrested Fighting Separation of Families

Press release, January 5, 2010
Fast for Our Families/Miami,
New Sanctuary Coalition/New York,
Families For Freedom/New York,

New York, NY/Miami, Fl – Jean Montrevil, a NYC immigrant rights activist and father of four announced yesterday that he was officially joining in solidarity with the Fast for Our Families, a group of 5 community members in South Florida who took their last meal on New Year’s Eve. The Fast for Our Families and Montrevil are both asking the Obama Administration to stop separating immigrants from their American families. In support of all immigrant families facing separation, 8 clergy were arrested at a protest outside of New York’s Varick Street Detention Center today while protesting Montrevil’s detention.

Two days before New Year’s 2010, Homeland Security shocked New Yorkers when the agency detained community leader Jean Montrevil. On New Year's Day, five individuals, some affected directly by deportation, similarly shocked many around the country by entering St. Ann’s Catholic Mission in Naranja, Florida (a suburb of Miami) and announcing that they would consume only liquids “until President Obama hears the voices of families separated by deportation,” according to Faster Jonathan Fried, the grandson of Jewish immigrants.

“The Fasters in Miami are fighting to keep families together, my husband and me are fighting to keep families together, so we will fight together!” exclaimed Jani Montrevil, Jean’s wife, US Citizen and mother of his US-born children. Fried, who has been fasting at the church since Friday was excited to hear the news. “It is great to know that this movement to keep our families together is spreading across the country,” he said.

More are expected to join the Fast for Our Families this week. Solidarity actions are being planned in Texas and are ongoing in New Hampshire. Meanwhile prominent clergy and elected leaders are calling on the feds to return Montrevil to his wife Jani, an African-American school teacher, and his four US-born children.

On her arrest today, the Rev. Donna Schaper of Judson Memorial Church, where Montrevil worships, stated: “I am being arrested because it is a moral outrage that our government would do this to such a great man and father (Montrevil). And these immigration laws that destroy families contradict the values we should uphold as a society. They need to change now.”

See also:
SoHo Detention Rally Ends In 10 Arrests - NY1 News
10 Arrested at Protest Over Detention of Immigration Reform Advocate - Village Voice blog

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