Press Release: Ravi Ragbir Emerges from ICE Check In Surrounded by Community

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Photo by Erik McGregor (click on image for more photos)

Photo by Erik McGregor (click image for more photos)

For Immediate Release: Monday, January 28, 2019

RAVI RAGBIR EMERGES FROM ICE CHECK-IN SURROUNDED BY COMMUNITY

New York, NY: Prominent immigrant rights activist, Ravi Ragbir, reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a check-in today, one year after a federal court ordered ICE to release Mr. Ragbir under similar circumstances. Community members, elected officials, and faith leaders gathered outside ICE headquarters at 26 Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan to show solidarity with Mr. Ragbir and others like him who are under threat of imminent detention and deportation. Mr. Ragbir is the Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, a faith-based organization devoted to immigrant rights. He is scheduled to report to ICE again in six months.

New Sanctuary Coalition Co-Chair Rev. Kaji Dousa, Senior Pastor of Park Avenue Christian Church, stated, “We stand with Ravi, who is beloved by all of us who have the privilege of working alongside him to challenge the inhumanity of our current immigration system. Ravi’s voice is so critical at a time when the administration is using immigrant lives as pawns in its political negotiations.”

“I am honored to have been able to bear witness and share the experience with Ravi during his check-in today,” stated U.S. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, who accompanied Ravi today, and last week was assigned to the House Homeland Security Committee. “Every elected official, his wife, Amy, and faith leaders should have a right to be by Ravi’s side during this trying time. And every immigrant checking-in in this space has that right as well. Our goal is to make sure that Ravi is victorious, his civil liberties are not obstructed, and there is no retribution from ICE employees.”

Mr. Ragbir stated, “We know that the intimidation of ICE and the Trump Administration is deliberately trying to break the community’s spirit. But what we have seen here today is everyone coming together–elected officials, faith leaders, community members–to stand up against the inhumanity of ICE policies. Together we will bring down the walls of injustice and abolish ICE.”

Mr. Ragbir has lived under 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. 

Last year, Mr. Ragbir was abruptly detained by immigration agents for deportation. However, a New York federal court ordered Mr. Ragbir’s release, finding his detention unconstitutional. Following his release, Mr. Ragbir and several immigrant rights organizations filed a First Amendment lawsuit, challenging the targeting of immigrant rights activists who speak out against the deportation machine. Mr. Ragbir’s latest check-in comes at the heels of the federal government’s prosecution of several humanitarian aid workers from No More Deaths earlier this month, and continuing actions against immigrant rights activists across the country.

ICE cannot legally deport Mr. Ragbir at this time, as he has a stay of deportation due to the First Amendment case before the federal appeals court. That case remains pending. 

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More photos from today’s action. 

Jan. 28: Stand with Ravi! Accompany Ravi to His Report Date with ICE

Stand with Ravi as he reports for a check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As many of you know, Ravi has been scheduled to report to ICE at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan on Jan. 28, 2019, for deportation. Ravi cannot be deported because he continues to have stays of removal from the Federal District Court of New Jersey and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. But instead of cancelling this report date, as ICE has done in the past, ICE has changed it from a deportation date into a “check in.”

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Even though the federal government is shut down, ICE aggressively targets our community members, and is spending its resources on requiring Ravi and countless others to check in. But we know the power of community. In the spirit of New Sanctuary’s accompaniment program, we ask that you all join us in accompanying Ravi and joining us in a Jericho Walk, starting at 9:30am.

Invite others with this Facebook listing:

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One Year Later: Ravi is home but waiting is agony

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By Amy Gottlieb, American Friends Service Committee

Jan. 11, 2019

Exactly a year ago, I sat in a cold conference room as a stone-faced senior official with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told my husband Ravi Ragbir that he was being detained. Ravi’s lawyer and I desperately tried to convince the officer not to detain Ravi – there were still legal avenues we were pursuing to prevent his deportation. But the officer just became more aggressive, and Ravi was handcuffed and escorted out.

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Vigil to Mark One-Year Anniversary of Unlawful ICE Arrest of Immigrant Rights Leader Ravi Ragbir

light-brigadeFor Immediate Release

Friday, January 11, 2019

***PRESS ADVISORY***

One year ago, on January 11, 2018, Ravi Ragbir was unlawfully detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in retaliation for speaking out against our unjust immigration system. Since then, Ravi and his supporters have continued to stand up against the current administration’s escalating attacks against immigrant communities.

At a vigil and “Jericho Walk” demonstration around the Varick Street Immigration Court on Friday night, local activists and families facing deportation will pay tribute to all those who have suffered at the hands of our immigration enforcement system in the past year, including fellow New Sanctuary Coalition c-founder, Jean Montrevil.

What: Vigil and Jericho Walk (silent procession) around the ICE facility

Where: 201 Varick Street, Lower Manhattan

When: Friday, January 11. Start, 6:00 – Vigil, 6:15 – Speakers, 6:45 – Prayer, 7:00 – Jericho Walk around Varick Immigration Court

Speakers:

  • Ravi Ragbir, New Sanctuary Coalition
  • Rev. Donna Schaper, Judson Memorial Church
  • Reverend Kaji Dousa, Park Avenue Christian Church

Audio: Brief statements by speakers, prayers, chanting, etc.

Visuals: Supporters with posters and candles outside immigration court building

Sponsors: Ravi Ragbir’s Defense Committee, New Sanctuary Coalition, Judson Memorial Church, Park Avenue Christian Church

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Ravi Ragbir and Other Immigrant Rights Defenders Testify at The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Adapted from a media advisory from the Center for Human Rights: University of Washington:

Prompted by efforts from immigrant rights leader Maru Mora Villalpando, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) met in Washington, D.C. on December 5th to dialogue with the Government of the United States of America about the Situation of Human Rights Defenders of Migrants in the country. Prominent immigrants’ defenders from throughout the country, targeted by the Trump Administration for their human rights work, testifed before the Commission. The IACHR will hold its 170th Period of Sessions from December 3 to 7, 2018, in its headquarters in Washington, D.C., United States of America.

The University of Washington’s (UW) International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) and Center for Human Rights (CHR) in collaboration with the North West Detention Center Resistance (NWDCR), New York University (NYU) Immigration Clinic, and Migrant Justice supported the leaders sharing their experiences and the impact of the infringement of freedom of speech on their work, their families and their communities. The organizations also presented the UW Center for Human Rights Report Secret Police: Access to information about immigration enforcement in the contemporary United States”. After the hearing the groups will hold a press conference to update the public and press.

Speakers: Immigrant activists and leaders, Alejandra Pablos, Shacorrie Tunkara, Maru Mora Villalpando, Janay Cauthen- Jean Montrevil’s wife-, Kike Balcazar, Ravi Ragbir, and members of the Universities UW Law School IHRC, UW CHR, NYU Immigration Clinic, University of Notre Dame, and National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG).

The hearing came after the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission expressed concern about the United States actions against immigrant leaders, calling the government to adopt measures to ensure an environment in which human rights defenders can work freely, without threat of retaliation.

The Inter-American Commission is and independent body of the Organization of American States, and has the mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region.

Access to the broadcast of the hearing can be found here. For in person coverage, find more info here.

 

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Click to read Alina Das’ live tweet thread from the hearing.
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Legal Update on First Amendment Case

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LEGAL UPDATE:

Federal Appeals Court Grants Immigrant Rights Activist Ravi Ragbir Stay of Removal

On November 1, 2018,  the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit granted Ravi Ragbir a stay of removal days after hearing oral argument in Ragbir v. Homan, a First Amendment challenge to retaliation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) against immigrant rights activists. The court has not yet issued a ruling on the First Amendment claim. The stay ensures that Mr. Ragbir will not be deported while the case is pending.

Mr. Ragbir, Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, was abruptly detained by ICE in January 2018 for deportation based on a decade-old deportation order. A federal court in New York ordered Mr. Ragbir’s release later that month, and a federal court in New Jersey ordered a stay of removal in a pending case challenging the conviction underlying Mr. Ragbir’s deportation order. ICE has continued, however, to pursue Mr. Ragbir’s deportation, requiring him to report “for removal” if no stay was in place.

In February 2018, Mr. Ragbir, joined by New Sanctuary Coalition, CASA, Detention Watch Network, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and New York Immigration Coalition, sued ICE, arguing that ICE’s actions against Mr. Ragbir and other immigrant activists violated the First Amendment. In May 2018, after a federal court denied the plaintiffs’ request for preliminary protections pending the First Amendment litigation for Mr. Ragbir, the plaintiffs appealed to the Second Circuit and sought a stay while  appeal is pending. The Second Circuit granted a stay on November 1, 2018.

For further information on Mr. Ragbir’s case, please visit: https://istandwithravi.org/category/legal-updates/

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