Freed After Haitian Tragedy, Activist to Demonstrate in the Shadow of Immigration Detention Center

Jean Montrevil meets Rev. Donna Schaper of the Judson Memorial Church. (Photo: The New Sanctuary Coalition)

Jean Montrevil meets Rev. Donna Schaper of the Judson Memorial Church. (Photo: The New Sanctuary Coalition)

On New Year’s Day, Jean Montrevil was detained in an immigration lockup. Less than a month later, after being freed following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, he will stand outside another jail where immigrants are held to protest the laws that placed him a breath away from deportation.

Montrevil and other immigration activists are expected to hold a demonstration Tuesday at 12:30 pm outside the Varick Federal Detention Facility in Lower Manhattan “to call for an end to immigration policies that are destroying families.”

Haitian-born Montrevil was released last Saturday from a detention center in York, Pennsylvania, where he was being held. A couple of weeks before, The New York Times reported, he was so close to being deported to Haiti “that friends were waiting for him at the airport in Port-au-Prince.” The deportation flight was stopped because another detainee had a fever, the newspaper said.

Immediately after the Jan. 12 earthquake, deportations to Haiti were halted. Later the U.S. extended temporary protected status to Haitians already in the country.

Montrevil is now free but, according to a press release from the New Sanctuary Movement, he “still does not have permanent status and will continue to fight to change the immigration laws that tear millions of families like his apart.”

The Brooklyn resident and father of four U.S. citizens —detained on Dec. 30 during a monthly check-in with immigration authorities– has for many years been an activist against deportations and is one of the founders of the New York chapter of the New Sanctuary Coalition. His detention spurred several protests — including one that ended with eight clergy members and two activists arrested.

Tuesday, Montrevil will be joined by his family, immigration activists and religious leaders at the jail located at 201 Varick St.

AboutDiego Graglia
Diego Graglia is a bilingual multimedia journalist who has worked at major media outlets in the U.S. and Latin America. He is currently the editor-in-chief at Expansion, Meixco’s leading business magazine.