New Yorkers held emergency rally in support of Ravi Ragbir, Executive Director of New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City detained at immigration check-in
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New York, NY – Nationally recognized immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir was detained while reporting to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a routine check-in on January 11, 2018. Hundreds are gathered outside the federal immigration building at 26 Federal Plaza in downtown New York City to show solidarity with all those affected by the deportation machine, including Ragbir.
When ICE detained him and to stop his deportation, faith leaders, city council people, friends and allies surrounded the ambulance he was taken away in peacefully blocking its departure as it tried to exit the building. NYPD and Homeland Security Police then got very aggressive and started punching people, knocking them to the ground. For 30 minutes people were knocked down, and thrown aside, but then picked themselves back up and put themselves back in front of the truck. After nearly running people over numerous times the police finally broke through the lines and sped off. Over 15 people were reported arrested.
Mr. Ragbir is the Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, a faith-based coalition devoted to immigrant rights. Ragbir is a fixture in the immigrant rights movement, and was awarded the 2017 Immigrant Excellence Award by the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, given to those who show “deep commitment to the enhancement of their community.”
New Sanctuary Coalition Co-Chair Rev. Kaji Dousa, Senior Pastor of Park Avenue Christian Church, stated that “Ravi Ragbir means everything to this city. A longtime New Yorker, a husband and a father, Ravi is beloved by all of us who have had the privilege of working with him to make New York a welcoming community for all of its residents. The fact that ICE has taken him as if his spirit, family ties, and contributions to the community mean nothing is inhumane.”
Mr. Ragbir has lived with the threat of deportation for nearly a decade, as the result of a 16-year old conviction for wire fraud. He was placed into removal proceedings in 2006 and spent twenty-two months in immigration detention before being released in February 2008. During immigration detention and since his release, Ragbir has devoted his life to the lives of immigrants, working tirelessly to end the use of immigration detention, stop deportations, and secure relief for countless individuals. Previously, ICE officials had granted Ragbir prosecutorial discretion, including a stay of removal that was in effect until next week.
Mr. Ragbir’s detention comes just days after Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained Jean Montrevil, another immigrant rights leader who was one of the founding members of the New Sanctuary Coalition and who, like Ravi, had been permitted to live with his family in the U.S. pending his legal challenges to his case. “The detention of both Ravi and Jean is an affront to faith-based communities everywhere,” stated Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director of the Interfaith Coalition of New York City. “People who are willing to speak out against the injustices of the immigration system should not be targeted for deportation. No one should be treated this way.”
Leading immigrant and civil rights organizations and event co-sponsors American Friends Service Committee, Brooklyn Defender Services, Center for Constitutional Rights, Detention Watch Network, Immigrant Defense Project, LatinoJustice, Make the Road New York, MinKwon Center for Community Action, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Project, New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York Immigration Coalition, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, UnLocal, Inc. rallied outside 26 Federal Plaza, where Ragbir was detained. The event was also attended by City Council Members Brad Lander, Carlos Menchaca, Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, and State Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, in addition to hundreds of community members and faith leaders.
Community members held rallies throughout the day at Foley Square and ICE Headquarters in Lower Manhattan to call for Mr. Ragbir’s immediate release.
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