Does the First Amendment Provide 'Sanctuary' from Removal for Immigration Law Violations?

By Dan Cadman on August 15, 2018

Ravi Ragbir, a native of Trinidad and Tobago and a deportable alien, as well as executive director of the "New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City", has asked the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals to halt his removal, based on an allegation that he was targeted for deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) because of his activism, thus violating his First Amendment rights to free expression.

This seems to me a chicken-or-egg thing. Is ICE targeting Ragbir because he's executive director of an anti-enforcement progressive leftist coalition that argues in favor of sanctuaries and open borders — or did Ragbir spearhead formation of the coalition hoping it would shield him from the reach of the immigration laws so that, if-and-when apprehended, he could make exactly the claim that he's now making?

I wouldn't bet the farm that it wasn't the latter. I recall posting a blog a couple of years ago about an alien in Portland, Ore., who became stridently activist as ICE was closing in on him for being removable as a convicted heroin dealer.

I cannot conceive that the First Amendment was ever intended to provide shelter from violations of law of this kind, and what I know as a certainty is this:

If the Second Circuit makes the cardinal error of granting Ragbir relief from the immigration laws based on this curious (dare I say spurious?) argument, virtually every deportable alien possessed of his letters will overnight become an activist pundit, sending op-eds and screeds to any written or online publication willing to entertain them, simply so as to shoehorn himself, too, into protection from the consequences of his immigration law violations.