For Immediate Release
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Press Contact: Meryl Ranzer
Email: [email protected]
U.S. Citizen Pascal Shakoure Charpentier, Wrongfully Detained by ICE for 219 Days is Released! Deportation Case Remains in Place as Family, Friends & Activists Welcome Him Home.
WHAT: Digital Rally and Press Conference
WHEN: Thursday February 18th, 12:00PM EST
WHERE: Register for the Rally/Press Conference HERE.
WHO: New Sanctuary Coalition, MPower Change, CAIR-Council on American-Islamic Relations, Freedom To Thrive, BAJI-Black Alliance for Just Immigration, African Communities Together, and Family & Friends of Pascal Shakoure Charpentier, as well as Shakoure, himself.
(New York, NY) On the morning of Friday, February 12, 2021, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainee Pascal “Shakoure” Charpentier was released from Bergen County Jail where he spent 219 days under threat of deportation to a country in which he has never lived. Though Shakoure now has a better chance to be able to defend his case against baseless claims—and until the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) admits Shakoure is a United States citizen, he is not truly free. A digital rally on Thursday, February 18 will break down details of how the U.S. government weaponizes immigration policies, for the purpose of placing thousands of black and brown citizens behind bars.
Shakoure was released under the so-called “Alternatives to Detention” program, meaning he remains under ICE supervision, and is forced to wear an ankle monitor. ICE has the power to detain him again, and deport him. DHS is still withholding vital documents that could prove Shakoure’s citizenship, and, end all of this — highlighting yet again that ICE’s motivations are rooted in anti-Black Islamophobia.
“Today the population of detainees that ICE is holding in prisons and jails, about 15,000 people, got lower by one,” said Shakoure in a video call to family and a growing community of activists in support. “It's kind of strange how those simple things you took for granted just become really precious gems.” When he first turned on his phone, a flood of messages, both sent during his detention and on the day of his release, came in from supporters. “I was overwhelmed. I really appreciate all the time, thought, and the emotional and intellectual support I’ve gotten. I’m honored.”
This Thursday, February 18th at noon EST, Shakoure's family, community, and advocates from New Sanctuary Coalition, MPower Change, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Freedom to Thrive, CAIR New York, and African Communities Together, will appear in a digital rally and press conference. Speakers will include Shakoure, members of his family, Linda Sarsour, recently released Ousman Darboe--who was also detained by ICE in Bergen County Jail, and other guests.
The horrific conditions in prisons and jails are all exacerbated by COVID19. According to a February 12th article in Business Insider, no COVID vaccines have been given to detainees in Bergen County Jail, instead according to Shakoure, the officials “consolidated two units into one, forcing detainees to share cells and making social distancing impossible.” NY Governor Cuomo only issued 21 pardons and clemencies in 2020 as part of his year-end practice. Shakoure was not on that list, meaning--he spent an additional month and a half in a dangerous environment despite his underlying asthma condition.
Currently, there are a large number of U.S, citizens like Shakoure, but without the resources to defend themselves and fight for their freedom in a powerful system designed to incarcerate, harm, and separate Black, brown, and Muslim communities. Despite the supposed deportation moratorium, the Biden Administration has already deported hundreds of predominantly Black immigrants, and is projected to deport nearly 1,800 people to Haiti by the end of February.
The fight is not over for Shakoure. We are taking action to remind his Queens local, as well as federal representatives to take a stand against ICE and protect Shakoure and others like him. We continue to demand clemency from Governor Cuomo until Shakoure is freed from the threat of deportation. Shakoure is a U.S. citizen. This is his home.
Register for the Rally/Press Conference HERE.