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Protesters Rally Against Deportation of Immigrant Rights Activist

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Police have arrested 10 people who are trying to draw attention to a high-profile activist who's facing deportation. WNYC's Marianne McCune has more on yesterday's protest outside a detention center in Lower Manhattan.

REPORTER: The man who inspired children's music star Dan Zanes and dozens of protesters to sing in the cold is Haitian immigrant rights activist Jean Montrevil. He's been in the U.S. legally for 20 years and has a wife and four young children who are all U.S. citizens. But when Montrevil was 19, he served 11 years for a drug conviction. Last week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement - or ICE - detained Montrevil with plans to deport him. Immigration judges have no discretion when it comes to those convicted of certain crimes - their deportation is automatic, even if they've for decades been model residents or have citizen children. But Montrevil's attorney says the federal government can opt to overlook his case. That's what supporters and a few elected officials are pushing for. They also support legislation giving immigration judges more discretion. ICE's Northeast Communications Director says Montrevil has a significant criminal record and that one of the agency's primary missions is to remove criminal aliens from the U.S. For WNYC, I'm Marianne McCune.

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