Immigrant Rights Leader Ravi Ragbir Detained At Immigration Check

Councilman Jumaane Williams Arrested

City Councilman Councilman Jumaane Williams is arrested during a protest on Thursday Jan. 11 2018

A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the federal agents involved were not with ICE but were officers with the Federal Protective Services who guard federal buildings.

A Caribbean-American legislator was arrested in NY on Thursday while protesting the detention of Trinidadian community leader Ravi Ragbir. Organizers with the New Sanctuary Coalition estimate between 12 and 18 people were arrested, including several clergy members and at least two members of the New York City Council, Ydannis Rodríguez and Jumaane Williams. Eastern Time, at the ICE detention center on 201 Varick St., in New York City, where Ragbir is being held.

Ragbir, the executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, reportedly fainted after being told he was being detained at 26 Federal Plaza and an ambulance was called as supporters outside, who had gathered on behalf of the Trinidadian, blocked the ambulance.

Ravi Ragbir, Leading immigrant rights activist and an Indian-descent from Trinidad and Tobago, was arrested on Friday during a routine check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and ordered immediate deportation, irking local community in NY.

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.


Mr. Ragbir has lived with the threat of deportation for almost a decade, as the result of a 16-year old conviction for wire fraud. Previously, ICE officials had granted Ragbir prosecutorial discretion, including a stay of removal that was in effect until next week. 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".

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"The detention of both Ravi and Jean is an affront to faith-based communities everywhere", Rev. Chloe Breyer, executive director of the Interfaith Coalition of New York City, said in a statement.

Activists are encouraging others to call the ICE offices and NY senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to demand Ragbir's release. He spent 22 months in immigration detention. "He will remain in custody pending removal to Trinidad".

In a video of the rally posted to Twitter by Buzzfeed News, Williams was seen being held face-down on the hood of a vehicle by a police officer while saying, "Freedom".

Democracy Now! has closely covered Ragbir's case over the years. "Resist. Freedom. Resist. We are going to resist".

"He has educated other advocates, allies, community organisers, and elected officials on immigration issues, as well as new policies and reform proposals from Congress", Williams said.

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