Of late, long-established immigration laws have been repeatedly challenged by the open borders lobby as it attempts to erase any legal distinction between U.S. citizens and the rest of the world. Advocates for illegal aliens are clearly hoping that activist judges will keep the Trump administration from applying the Immigration and Nationality Act, as written by Congress.
However, the most offensive attempt yet to undermine our immigration regulations by lawsuit may be, currently pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York. The case concerns the deportation of Ravidath Ragbir, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago with a criminal history.
According to the so-called “civil rights organizations” representing Mr. Ragbir, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wants to deport him solely because he has been a vocal critic of the Trump administration’s immigration policies. They claim that ICE is attempting to silence Ragbir and that constitutes an egregious violation of his First Amendment right to criticize the government. Therefore, as a matter of constitutional law, he may not be deported.
But there are a number of problems with Ragbir’s ridiculous First Amendment arguments:
First off, Ragbir is neither a martyr nor a victim. In fact, he’s a convicted aggravated felon who helped steal between $300,000 and $500,000. Shortly after becoming a lawful permanent resident, he took a job at Household Finance Corporation, a mortgage lender, and used his position there to help a ring of criminals file bogus loan applications using stolen identities. Following a jury trial, Ragbir was convicted of six counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He served 30 months in federal prison for his crimes.
Second, ICE took action to deport Ragbir on the basis of his criminal convictions long before he expressed any interest in political agitprop. In fact, at the completion of his prison sentence, ICE placed him in removal proceeding and secured an order of deportation against him. Despite the lax criminal alien detention policies of the Obama administration, and much legal wrangling by Ragbir, the deportation order against him has remained valid and in force.
Finally, this case has nothing to do with Ragbir’s free speech rights. The First Amendment ensures that the people may speak out against the government without fear of reprisal. However, it doesn’t obligate the United States to grant a deportable criminal alien the right to remain here for the sole purpose of criticizing of our immigration policies. And any claim that it does is beyond preposterous.
Ira Mehlman writes for the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform.