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Thread: Judge dismisses suit against ICE by immigrant in Detroit church sanctuary

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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Judge dismisses suit against ICE by immigrant in Detroit church sanctuary

    Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free PressPublished 6:01 a.m. ET Sept. 13, 2019

    A federal judge in Detroit dismissed on Thursday a lawsuit filed on behalf of an Albanian immigrant who has been in sanctuary inside a Detroit church trying to avoid deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

    Judge Denise Page Hood of the U.S. District Court of Eastern Michigan said the case involved issues that are outside her jurisdiction.

    In January 2018, Ded Rranxburgaj, 49, of Southgate took refuge in Central United Methodist Church after ICE agents had told him he would be deported. A former cook who overstayed his visa, Rranxburgaj said he needed to stay in the U.S. to take care of his ailing wife, Flora, who has multiple sclerosis.

    ICE declared him a fugitive from the law, but has not attempted to enter the church to remove him since he took sanctuary.

    In her decision, Hood wrote: “While Rranxburgaj might have a legitimate legal question, this is not the proper forum to address Rranxburgaj’s claim."

    In June 2018, attorney George Mann filed a lawsuit urging the court to intervene and block his removal. Mann asked the court to say that Rranxburgaj was not a fugitive. Judge Hood did not say whether he was a fugitive or not. She merely said her court was not the place for this decision to be made.

    Flora and Ded Rranxburgaj speak at Central United Methodist Church where he sought sanctuary prior to a hearing on his fugitive status at the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit, Mich., Monday, Nov. 12, 2018. (Photo: Kathleen Galligan, Detroit Free Press)

    "Since Rranxburgaj’s claim pertains to a final removal order, he must pursue his claim with the Court of Appeals," Hood wrote.

    Mann told the Free Press he is considering filing an appeal, but is still reviewing the court's ruling before he makes a decision to appeal to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

    "We are considering that possibility," Mann said. "Rranxburgaj is eager to take this invitation and pursue his rights in the the federal Court of Appeals. He continues to place his faith in the courts and looks forward to a favorable decision."

    Mann said Rranxburgaj can't be considered a fugitive because the Albanian immigrant kept ICE "fully apprised of his whereabouts."

    "ICE knows perfectly well where Rranxburgaj can be found," Mann said.

    Mann said it has been tough for Rranxburgaj to stay inside the church for more than a year and a half. He was hoping to get his freedom with a court decision.

    The lawsuit was filed against the heads of the Department of Homeland Security, ICE, the Detroit ICE office, and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

    "The only viable option for Mr. Rranxburgaj is to be granted a stay of removal, to allow him to continue caring for his disabled wife outside the sanctuary," read part of the lawsuit.

    Immigrant advocates held protests in support of him in November in Detroit during his court hearing.

    Khaalid Walls, spokesman for Detroit ICE, did not comment on the judge's ruling. But he added that ICE generally avoids places like churches.

    "Current ICE policy directs agency personnel to avoid conducting enforcement activities at sensitive locations unless they have prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official or in the event of exigent circumstances. The locations specified in the guidance include schools, places of worship and hospitals."

    Rranxburgaj traveled from Canada to Albania and then came to the U.S. 18 years ago as a visitor, along with his wife. He was previously a cook at a Coney Island restaurant. His eldest son, Laurence, 24, is a DACA recipient, and their youngest son, Erik Rranxburgaj, 16, is a U.S. citizen.

    Ded Rranxburgaj talks at a press conference after taking sanctuary at Central United Methodist Church while facing deportation in Detroit on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. Ded Rranxburgaj and his wife Flora Rranxburgaj (in wheelchair and center) both from Albania immigrated to the U.S. 17 years ago and applied for refugee status within 5 months of their arrival. (Photo: Romain Blanquart, Detroit Free Press)

    ICE has said it is not deporting his wife, Flora Rranxburgaj, because of her severe illness.

    Walls has said Rranxburgaj is a citizen of Albania who was ordered removed by an immigration judge in 2006.

    In 2009, the Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed the appeal of the immigration judge’s decision, affirming his removal order.

    Rranxburgaj is the first immigrant in Detroit to seek refuge in a church during the Trump administration, say advocates.

    Some other congregations in Michigan and across the U.S. have also been sanctuaries for immigrants trying to avoid deportation.
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  2. #2
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    These Churches are NOT above our laws in this land! A year and a half!!!

    Who took care of his "wife" while he was hiding in the Church like a coward?

    She has sons to take care of her.

    They need to be given strict warnings that harboring illegal aliens will not be tolerated and they should be prosecuted!

    No more sob stories!

    Deport him and his family is free to go move with him.
    MW likes this.


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