Another victory against deportation for the Migrant Justice 10!

We are excited to announce that Migrant Justice leader Ambrocio Rojas has won his immigration case and halted his pending deportation! Ambrocio is one of the “Migrant Justice 10,” a group of farmworkers in deportation proceedings who collectively petitioned the government to remain in the United States. He is the third farmworker leader so far to win his case.

For more information on the Migrant Justice 10, read the original announcement from when they filed petitions to stop their deportations!

Ambrocio has lived and worked in the United States for the past eleven years. He was detained by Border Patrol in the parking lot of a supermarket after buying food and wiring money to his family in Mexico. The community rallied to his defense and posted a $6,000 bond to win his temporary release, but Ambrocio remained under threat of deportation.

Two years ago, Ambrocio and nine other Migrant Justice members moved to close their deportation cases. The Migrant Justice 10 cited a newly-won policy from the Biden Administration instructing immigration authorities that a “noncitizen's exercise of workplace or tenant rights … should be considered a mitigating factor in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.” In other words, Ambrocio’s history fighting for his rights and the rights of his community should be a positive factor in preventing his deportation.

Check out our facebook post with Ambrocio’s video, and leave a comment congratulating him on his successful fight against deportation!

The policy allowing human rights defenders to fight to stop their deportations was instituted following widespread targeting of immigrant community leaders by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – including the targeting of Migrant Justice. Between 2016 and 2018, ICE agents in Vermont surveilled Migrant Justice (including through the use of confidential informants) and arrested 20 of the organization’s members and leaders. The agency’s campaign of targeted retaliation caused Migrant Justice to file a lawsuit to stop ICE’s practices. The suit ultimately settled with ICE agreeing to stop deportation against the plaintiffs and pay restitution. 

The pressure from Migrant Justice’s lawsuit – and resistance from many other organizations and immigrant leaders around the country facing similar retaliation – caused the Biden Administration to institute new guidelines prohibiting ICE’s targeting of immigrants exercising their freedom of speech, and creating a pathway for activists to petition the government to close their cases. Despite many obstacles in the road – including a lawsuit from several Republican states that went all the way to the Supreme Court – three Migrant Justice members so far have successfully used these guidelines to win their cases. Ambrocio’s win follows that of fellow farmworkers José Angel and José Luis.

These victories would not be possible without the courageous leadership of the Migrant Justice 10, diligent representation from the Center for Justice Reform at Vermont Law and Graduate School, and support from allies like you. And this exciting win against deportations comes on the heels of our recent, successful push to stop collaboration between local police and immigration agencies. As Ambrocio says in his message: “Don’t give up, keep fighting, and together we will win!”

In case you missed it, be sure to read last month’s announcement about our successful campaign to strengthen Vermont’s “No Polimigra” policy!

p.s. Inspired by these victories? Take a minute to show your support and donate $25 to Migrant Justice