Immigration Activist Ravi Ragbir Facing Deportation After ICE Arrest


Two city councilmen were among more than a dozen people arrested at a Thursday rally for an immigration rights activist who'd been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Officials said 18 people were arrested during the protest.

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, ICE Public Affairs officer Rachael Yong Yow said that Ragbir's case has gone through multiple judicial reviews over the past 12 years and that "In each review, the courts have uniformly held that Mr. Ragbir does not have a legal basis to remain in the U.S".

His detention coincided with a "Solidarity Vigil Against Deportation" that was called by a variety of religious, legal and immigrants' rights organizations-including the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), Faith in New York, Immigrant Defense Project and Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights.

"We came into the check-in with the hope that they would allow him to continue checking in as he has for many years, complying with all the rules that have been required of him", said Alina Das, one of Ragbir's attorneys who was present with him in the meeting, along with Ragbir's wife.

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Ragbir legally immigrated to the 1991 from Trinidad and Tobago and received permanent residence status a few years later.

Video footage showed Williams being forcibly taken off the street and thrown against the hood of a vehicle before being handcuffed.

In 2011, the NY field office of ICE granted him a stay of removal. After he was suddenly told by ICE that he would be deported, Ragbir collapsed and an ambulance was brought to transport him to a nearby hospital. "People who are willing to speak out against the injustices of the immigration system should not be targeted for deportation".

Mahfuzur Rahman, a student at City College of NY, said, "We know with Ravi, their entire accusation is based on a conviction from 20 years ago, which he served and since then he's been an excellent citizen-he's a better citizen than me!"

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"We've been told that he will be processed and taken to a detention facility, they will not tell us where". "He has demonstrated the kind of character that we need more of. He was just going for a check-in, that's the only thing". A large number of his supporters, including several Indian-Americans, gathered outside the Jacob Javits Federal Building where he was detained, reports news agency PTI. "Two of my colleagues, as I mentioned upstairs, Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams, were arrested". "So, I want them to know that even though they have the power of federal sanction sometimes, that we won't take that lying down and that we know what this is really about". He has been instrumental in advocating for rights of immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, and perhaps it's supposed to send a message to those of us who are in the movement, sort of a scare tactic and an attempt to damage the movement.

Eric Phillips, Mayor Bill de Blasio's spokesman, said in a statement that the mayor was briefed on the protest and police activity.

He said he believed the sudden nature of Ragbir's detention was part of the problem.

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