Indian-Origin Immigrant Rights Activist Faces Deportation Following Arrest in US

Indian-Origin Immigrant Rights Activist Faces Deportation Following Arrest in US

Police and immigrant-rights protesters clashed Thursday outside 26 Federal Plaza, New York City's immigration court, after word spread that Ravi Ragbir, a well-known activist known to protect immigrant families from deportation, had himself been detained by immigration authorities inside the building.

Ragbir's arrest followed that of Jean Montrevil, an immigrant activist from Haiti who was taken into custody last week near his Far Rockaway, New York, home, and just one day after The Associated Press reported a wave of ICE raids at convenience stores across the country. "We can't call ourselves progressives and pro-immigrants when the NYPD is doing chokehold to us", said Rodriguez after his arrest. Ragbir, head of the New Sanctuary Coalition of NY, was detained when he checked-in with ICE, as hundreds held a silent Jericho prayer walk outside. He was placed into removal proceedings in 2006 and then spent 22 months in immigration detention before being released in February 2008.

"A 15-year green card holder, Ravi was detained and ordered deported in 2006 by an immigration judge - without a hearing - based on a conviction for fraud, which he is now seeking to vacate, based on factual and legal errors in his trial", the statement added.

Mayor de Blasio blamed federal officials for ratcheting up the tensions, insisting the "original sin" came when ICE detained Ragbir during a routine check-in with the intention to deport him.

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Allies accompanied Ragbir to his scheduled 9:00 a.m. check-in Thursday. Ragbir told The Villager newspaper. "Ravi is an acclaimed community leader, a loving father, and a steadfast immigrant rights activist. He is an inspiring leader for the immigrants' rights movement, one that we need now more than ever", said Trivedi, noting that in 2017, Ragbir received SAALT's "Changemakers" award, alongside Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Zahra Billoo, executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations; law professor Jayesh Rathod; and Gurbani Kaur.

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

"Ravi's deportation would be a colossal loss for so many people", he said.

Ravi is a dedicated community educator, spokesperson, and advocate for immigrants. The couple lives with their daughter, Deborah, in Brooklyn. Previously, ICE officials had granted Ragbir prosecutorial discretion, including a stay of removal that was in effect until next week. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, both of NY.

Community advocates have also flooded the phone lines of ICE's field offices in NY demanding the release of Ragbir.

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