Women in sanctuary file lawsuit against ICE to challenge retaliatory and excessive civil fines
Four women living in sanctuary, along with Austin Sanctuary Network (ASN) and Free Migration Project (FMP), filed a lawsuit Tuesday suing U.S. immigration agencies and officials for targeting sanctuary leaders with retaliatory and excessive civil fines.
Each of the plaintiffs is a leader in the modern sanctuary movement. The sanctuary movement originally began in the 1980s as resistance to government oppression. Houses of worship across the country are continuing that tradition and have come together in support of immigrant rights, including by offering sanctuary as an act of solidarity to people who would otherwise be deported.
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Fordham students seek appeal of ruling allowing prohibition of Students for Justice in Palestine club
On Thursday, civil rights groups asked the New York Court of Appeals, the highest court in New York State, to hear an appeal of a ruling that allows Fordham University to censor student speech. The petition comes in a lawsuit brought by Fordham students prohibited by the university from forming a Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) school club because of the group’s “political goals” and because of claims it would be “polarizing.”
“I am beyond disappointed with the court's shameful decision,” said Veer Shetty, a senior at Fordham and vice president of Fordham SJP. “We have been fighting for five years now just to have a space where we can discuss and advocate for Palestinian rights on campus — it's awful that Fordham continues to censor us. We are on the right side of history, and I'm confident that in the end justice will prevail.”
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Police unions' latest attempt to block release of police miscoduct records
On Tuesday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case brought by New York City police unions (along with corrections and fire unions) to stop the City of New York from releasing officer misconduct and discipline records to the public following the June 2020 repeal of the police secrecy law 50-a, by the New York State Legislature.
“Ever since the legislature repealed 50-a, police unions have been trying to undermine and overturn the public will,” said Monifa Bandele, spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform. “The legislature was right to lift the veil of secrecy that police departments have used to hide police misconduct and disciplinary records – and the outsized resources and power of police unions should not be allowed to infringe on the rights of everyday New Yorkers, including police violence survivors, families whose loved ones were killed by police, and the many groups who fought to repeal the police secrecy law, 50-a. It’s long past time to make police misconduct and the NYPD’s systemic refusal to discipline abusive officers transparent.”
More about this case on our website.
Court blocked Trump attempt to thwart court order protecting asylum seekers
Last Monday, a federal court issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Trump administration’s latest attempt to prevent asylum seekers from accessing the U.S. asylum process. The order blocks a rule, issued in December and set to take effect on January 19, that sought to circumvent an earlier court order prohibiting the government from applying an asylum ban to certain people forced to wait in Mexico because U.S. Customs and Border Protection artificially limited the number of asylum seekers who could enter the United States at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border. Oral argument concerning further injunctive relief has been scheduled for February 3, 2021.
In the ruling, the court wrote, “It is at least questionable, if not altogether doubtful, that Defendants can redefine statutory terms in a regulation in direct contradiction to the Court’s plain language interpretation, especially when their intention in doing so is to evade the import of the Court’s previous rulings.”
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Tomorrow! Join us for "Brick by Brick: A community forum on ending Death by Incarceration in Pennsylvania"
Do you know why organizers use the phrase Death By Incarceration instead of Life Without Parole? Because it more accurately describes what these harsh sentences mean to the people and their communities who live them and why they need to end. Pennsylvania is one of the leaders in the country and the world in condemning people to die in prison. Currently, more than 5,200 people in the state are serving Death By Incarceration sentences without the possibility of parole.
Join the Abolitionist Law Center, Amistad Law Project, and the Center for Constitutional Rights for a virtual community forum to discuss the ongoing legal and political fight to abolish Death By Incarceration sentences in Pennsylvania. The forum, Brick by Brick: A community forum on ending Death By Incarceration in Pennsylvania, will take place on Tuesday, January 26, 5:00–7:00 p.m. EST.
This event will be held over Zoom. For more information and to RSVP, head to our website. For more information about this case, Scott v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, visit our case page.
Help us welcome our new Bertha Justice Fellows!
Four Bertha Justice Fellows will be spending the next two years at the Center for Constitutional Rights getting first-hand experience in movement lawyering.
The fellows—Luna Martinez, Elsa Maria Mota, Samah Sisay, and Rafaela Uribe—will work on cases in the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative, and the Government Misconduct/Racial Justice and International Human Rights dockets.
This is the fifth cycle in which we have participated in the Bertha Justice Fellowship Program, a two-year appointment for emerging lawyers who are interested in gaining practical experience working on cases and a theoretical understanding of how legal advocacy can create social change.
“The importance of standing with and defending activists on the ground who are fighting against white supremacy and facism cannot be learned in a law school classroom," said Rachel Meeropol, senior staff attorney and associate director of legal training and education. “The Center for Constitutional Rights has a long history of training the next generation of radical lawyers. We are thrilled to welcome our newest fellows as they embark on a career of working for justice.”
Learn more about our amazing new cohort on our website.