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Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2009
In N.Y. City, police cuffed ten people at protest over anticipated deportation of Haitian drug convict
By Marcus Franklin, Associated Press Writer
Ten people protesting the detention of a Haitian immigrant facing deportation decades after his drug conviction were arrested Tuesday after blocking traffic in Manhattan.
protest immigration 2
Photos by Mizue Aizeki/Village Voice. videoMore
Dozens of people gathered outside a federal building Tuesday to voice their support for and release of Jean Murat Montrevil. The married father of four served more than 10 years for a 1989 conviction, said his wife, Jani, who attended the protest with the couple's young children.

Montrevil was released from prison in 2000 into the custody of federal immigration officials, said Manisha Vaze, a spokeswoman for Families For Freedom, a New York-based advocacy group for immigrants fighting deportation. The organization helped organize the rally.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials released Montrevil in 2006 before taking him back into custody Dec. 30, Vaze said. He's being held at an ICE facility in York County, Pennsylvania.
protest immigration 1
While ICE officials defended Montrevil's pending deportation and said they planned to move forward, his family and supporters weathered biting cold and waved signs of support and sang songs.

Then, 10 protesters entered the street, forcing police to redirect traffic for more than half an hour. Finally a lieutenant approached and offered them the opportunity to disperse. After refusing, police placed them in handcuffs and arrested each on a disorderly conduct charge.

Jani Montrevil said her husband has paid his debt to society, had since become a community leader and was his family's sole provider.

"I want everyone to know this country is unfair to immigrants," she said during the rally, her children nearby. "They should not be punishing him twice; that's double jeopardy. The government doesn't want me on public assistance, but they take my breadwinner away."

In a statement Tuesday, ICE spokesman Michael W. Gilhooly said Montrevil is "an aggravated felon with a significant criminal record who has a final order of removal from an immigration judge."
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