Passionate shouts of “Bring Jean Home!” filled the nave of Judson Memorial Church as
people from all over New York City gathered on Jan. 16 to support a campaign to bring home community activist Jean Montrevil who was deported to Haiti two years ago. On Thursday, Montrevil filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over his deportation to Haiti in January 2018. He believes his deportation is a result of his extensive activism with the New Sanctuary Coalition, an organization dedicated to ending deportations and detentions in the U.S.
“This is not who we ought to be as a city or as a country. It doesn’t make us better. It doesn’t make us stronger,” said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner at the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “A father should not be taken from their child. A father should not be taken from their partner or their loved one and we won’t stand for that.”
In the late 1980s, Montrevil, who said he was raised by an abusive stepparent in Haiti, was arrested on drug and gun possession charges. He was incarcerated from 1989 to 2000, when he was released on probation. An immigration judge announced in 1994 he would begin removal proceedings against Montrevil. On Jan. 3, 2018, Montrevil was arrested by ICE while on a lunch break outside of his home in Far Rockaway, Queens. He would be sent back on a flight to Haiti at 7:38 a.m. on Jan. 16.