Two City Council members placed in handcuffs at deportation rally

Image via Sojourners

Ragbir has lived in the United States for more than 26 years. Eighteen people were arrested in that protest, according to New York City Patch.

The detainment of immigration activist Ravi Ragbir (c.) sparked a protest that led to clashes with cops and two City Council members getting arrested.


Later on Thursday, at a City Hall news conference, Mr. Johnson, who was elected as speaker on January 3, said the protest had been peaceful and that it "turned needlessly violent at the hands of ICE agents, and there were some members of the N.Y.P.D. who were involved as well".

"Ravi Ragbir means everything to this city", said New Sanctuary Coalition Co-Chair Rev. Kaji Dousa.

"Ravi Ragbir is an extraordinary man, beloved in his community and dedicated to fighting for immigrant rights. He will remain in custody pending removal to Trinidad".

Ragbir, a Trinidad and Tobago native of Indian descent, arrived in the 1991 on a visitor's visa.

Democracy Now! posted on Twitter that New York City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez was arrested during the rally.

In 2006, Ragbir was ordered by an immigration judge to be detained and deported, stemming from a 2001 conviction of wire fraud - an aggravated felony.

It further said that deportation would destroy the couple's dream of building a family together.

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"When ICE does things that are just beyond understanding, when they had other choices, they only make us stronger", Schaper told VOA.

Community members are holding a rally now at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan to call for Mr. Ragbir's immediate release.

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

In each review, the courts have uniformly held that Ragbir does not have a legal basis to remain in the US, ICE said.

"We have so many leaders, in addition to Ravi, whom Ravi has built up over these many, many years", she said.

Ragbir has been active on the immigration scene and was recognized with the 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". "Ravi must be released immediately", said Congressman Joe Crowley, a top Democratic leader.

Reverend Dr. Donna Schaper of Judson Memorial Church said that the city and the nation would be much worse off if Ragbir were to be deported.

He is exactly the kind of person that we need here, working for the common good and for the cause of justice, for immigrants and for all. "There is no doubt that he should be allowed to stay here with his family and community", Schaper said.


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