Immigration Activist Ravi Ragbir Facing Deportation After ICE Arrest


Ragbir, executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC, was detailed by ICE authorities during a routine check-in.

The sudden arrest of the Trinidadian-born migrant, whose legal status - like many migrants - has been in a state of limbo for nearly ten years, sparked demonstrations outside the Manhattan federal building where he is being held.

At least 18 others were arrested including City Council members Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams. Meanwhile, photos showed NYPD officers grabbing Rodriguez by the neck and putting him in a chokehold.

Among those arrested were Councilman Jumaane Williams, who was seen being bent over the hood of a vehicle and grimacing in pain as he was handcuffed in video shot by Buzzfeed, and whose suit jacket was torn in the encounter; and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, whose account tweeted a photograph of an officer in front of him with both arms around Ydanis' neck, while the councilman's hands were pulled behind him by another officer.

Rachael Long Yow, a spokeswoman for ICE, told Observer that ICE officers were not with the protesters and that only Federal Protective Service and NYPD were present.

Video footage showed Williams being forcibly taken off the street and thrown against the hood of a auto before being handcuffed. "Resist. Freedom. Resist. We are going to resist".

Ms. Yong Yow declined to comment on the pending hearing.

"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.

"At this point, it appears the police were clearing a path for an ambulance with a patient inside that was en route to a hospital", Sergeant Jessica McRorie, the NYPD spokesperson, said in a statement. "Today, after more than two decades of living in this country, he was detained by ICE and removed in an ambulance".

In 2011, the NY field office of ICE granted him a stay of removal.

Hundreds then flooded the area, chanting Ragbir's name and holding signs.

"Ravi Ragbir means everything to this city", said Rev. Kaji Dousa, co-chair of The New Sanctuary Coalition and senior pastor of Park Avenue Christian Church, in an emailed statement.

"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 NY a welcoming community for all of its residents", Dousa said in a statement.

Following a group prayer, Schaper, who works closely with Ragbir, remained resilient, asserting the strength of her surrounding community.

He is married to Amy Gottlieb, a US citizen and fellow immigration activist, but has been unable to regularize his immigration status through marriage because of his prior conviction.

Advocates say Ragbir's strong community ties and history of complying with ICE check-ins should be taken into account by ICE. "He will remain in custody pending removal to Trinidad".