#FreeBakhodir Coalition Calls for ICE to Stop Removal of Bakhodir
(NEW YORK, N.Y., 9/20/2020) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) and the New Haven Legal Assistance Immigrant Rights Clinic today announced the filing a lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York against the United States and three Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents for assaulting the plaintiff (Bakhodir Madjitov, a native of Uzbekistan) and violating his constitutional rights during an illegal attempt to deport him in June 2019. At the time of ICE’s attempt to remove Madjitov, a Third Circuit court order was in effect staying his removal.
In a statement, CAIR-NY Legal Director Ahmed Mohamed said:
“Bakhodir has been separated from his family for three years, and he has never held his third child in his arms. Family separation is inexplicably cruel and a stain on America. Family separation is emblematic of a brutal immigration system and its inhumane arms of enforcement.”
“Last year, in an attempt to deport Bakhodir to Uzbekistan, where he is likely to be tortured or killed, ICE violated a federal court order. In the process, ICE agents violently assaulted Bakhodir in a JFK terminal. Bakhodir suffered severe injuries that required him to be transported to an emergency room at a local hospital. This lawsuit seeks to hold the government accountable for its illegal actions. If the government is permitted to remove Bakhodir, the government will escape accountability for the abuse inflicted on Bakhodir.”
The New Haven Legal Assistance Immigrant Rights Clinic issued the following statement:
“Bakhodir and his family have endured profound suffering since ICE tore them apart almost three years ago. Bakhodir’s prolonged detention by ICE has always been unconscionable. In June of 2019, ICE’s campaign of cruelty culminated in a brutal assault, after Bakhodir refused to submit to their illegal attempt to force him onto a plane bound for Uzbekistan in violation of a federal court order staying his removal. The lawsuit we filed in federal court last Friday seeks to vindicate Bakhodir’s civil rights and to hold the government accountable for its unlawful and unconstitutional acts. But ICE has once again initiated removal against Bakhodir and is preparing to remove him imminently. If this is permitted to happen, Bakhodir will face almost certain imprisonment and torture, and possibly even death, while the government will escape accountability for violating the law and degrading the values at the foundation of our democracy and legal system.”
In a statement, the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance (CIRA) and Connecticut Bail Fund Community Organizer Nika Zarazvand said:
“ICE and the Department of Homeland Security are responsible for the prolonged detention and torture of Bakhodir Madjitov, a father of three who has languished more than a thousand miles away from his family since ICE tried to forcibly deport him. Solitary confinement during COVID-19 is torture, but Bakhodir has faced much worse as a result of the medical neglect at Etowah County Jail and faces deportation solely for immigrating to this country. The US government invests millions of dollars in ICE to violently separate parents from their children in the name of national security. We call this practice what it is: human trafficking.”
BACKGROUND ON CASE:
Madjitov is a native of Uzbekistan and has been present in the United States since his lawful entry in 2006. He is a Muslim, a husband to a U.S. citizen spouse, and a father to three native-born U.S. citizen sons. Madjitov is a respected member of our community who worked hard as a home health aide to care for his elderly and ailing patients, and he has been diligently pursuing the legalization of immigration status for which he is eligible.
Madjitov was arrested by ICE in 2017, one week before the birth of his third child—whom he has never held in his arms. In June 2019, ICE attempted to deport Madjitov despite a court-issued stay of removal, which prohibited ICE from deporting him at that time. During that attempted forcible removal, ICE officials took Madjitov to JFK Airport and tried to force him onto a plane bound for Uzbekistan. When Madjitov refused to board, explaining to the ICE agents that he had a stay of removal, the agents responded by beating and tasing him. The physical assault resulted in Madjitov’s requiring medical attention in the emergency room of a nearby hospital.
As an ICE detainee, Madjitov has been subjected to solitary confinement, manual labor, retaliation, and threats, and has contracted COVID-19 in ICE custody. On September 17, 2020, Madjitov was moved to an ICE processing center, in an initial step in to remove Madjitov to Uzbekistan, where he will likely be tortured or killed by the autocratic Uzbekistani government. On September 18, 2020, he was moved to an ICE staging facility—a final step before removal. On September 19, 2020, the government acknowledged that it intends to remove him within days.
Along with the lawsuit, Madjitov’s lawyers have asked a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stay Madjitov’s removal until his lawsuit to vindicate his civil rights and hold ICE accountable is adjudicated. Madjitov’s TRO motion is pending.
To support Madjitov and his family’s efforts to remain united in the United States, a #FreeBakhodir Coalition has been formed. Coalition members are:
Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance, Connecticut Bail Fund, Life in My Days, Believers Bail Out, Connecticut Workers Crisis Response, CT Students for a Dream, Make the Road CT, Hartford Deportation Defense; Council on American-Islamic Relations, New York (CAIR-NY)
The Coalition invites all Americans to visit www.freebakhodir.org and stop the deportation of Bakhodir. Calls to action include signing this moveon.org petition and sending an email letter to ICE officials in charge of Bakhodir’s removal.
CAIR-NY is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
The New Haven Legal Assistance Association is a historic legal aid office whose mission is to secure justice for and to protect the rights of those in our community who are otherwise unable to engage legal counsel.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: Ahmed Mohamed, CAIR-NY Legal Director, 646-481-2103, email@example.com; Diana Blank, New Haven Legal Assistance Immigrant Rights Clinic; firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-946-4811, ext. 1121; Nika Zarazvand, Connecticut Bail Fund; email@example.com