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Manafort and Cohen guilty as charged. Also on the Wednesday rundown: federal figures predict little boost to coal jobs; the EPA admits new coal rules endanger health; and it turns out consumer want better MPG despite Trump fuel standard rollbacks.

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Immigrant Rights Activist Headed Back to Court in Deportation Battle

Supporters of an immigrant-rights activist facing deportation are gathering outside a Seattle immigration courtroom today. (Northwest Detention Center Resistance)
Supporters of an immigrant-rights activist facing deportation are gathering outside a Seattle immigration courtroom today. (Northwest Detention Center Resistance)
May 22, 2018

SEATTLE – A Northwest immigration-rights activist is heading back to court in her battle against deportation today.

Maru Mora Villalpando is an organizer with the Northwest Detention Center Resistance. In December, she was issued a deportation notice, despite the fact that Villalpando does not have a criminal record.

Her first court appearance was in March. That same month, the U.S. Department of Justice set quotas for immigration judges aimed at speeding up deportations.

Villalpando says like others, her case has been fast-tracked. She says in the past, a case like hers might take months or even years.

"In a way, it's very simple how immigration law functions because there's really very few resources for us immigrants to access due process," she says. "And so we expect that the whole processing itself might not take too much time."

Villalpando says she wants to make her case public to help people understand that the vast majority of immigrants have no path to legal status.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement say it didn't target Villalpando because she is a prominent political activist. Her supporters are gathering at 12:30 today outside the Seattle immigration court where her hearing is being held.

Villalpando expects one more court date before she is ordered to be removed from the country or detained. The mother of a 20-year-old daughter, she says deportation orders are tearing up families. She points to the Trump administration's consideration of holding immigrant children at military bases - something the Obama administration also considered in 2015 but didn't follow through with after public pressure. She says this suggestion is inhumane.

"This is the result of a system that was created precisely to destroy families," she adds. "It's just gotten so bad because we have allowed ICE to do these horrible things against our communities."

Today, Villalpando also will announce her lawsuit against ICE for its failure to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request in January for documents on her case.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA