FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 17, 2018
Following massive peaceful demonstrations in New York City protesting the detention of New York-based immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir in Krome Detention Facility in Miami, Florida, federal immigration officials agreed today to return Mr. Ragbir to the New York area, where he will remain detained pending the outcome of his legal case.
Mr. Ragbir was detained on January 11, 2018, while reporting to the New York Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Field Office for a routine check-in. Without notice to his family or his attorneys, Mr. Ragbir was taken to Krome Detention Facility in Miami, Florida late that afternoon. The same day he was detained, Mr. Ragbir’s attorneys at the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic filed a lawsuit challenging his detention and obtained a federal court order issuing a temporary stay of deportation and preventing the government from transferring him outside of the New York area pending consideration of his case. ICE refused to bring him back, and a hearing was held on January 16, 2018, to determine whether ICE must be ordered to comply with the decision. At the hearing, the judge urged the government to consider returning Mr. Ragbir to a detention center closer to his family and counsel.
On January 17, 2018, counsel for ICE wrote to the court stating that they would exercise discretion to bring Mr. Ragbir back to the New York area. Another hearing on the lawfulness of detention is scheduled for the end of January.
“The last five days have been a nightmare for me,” said Amy Gottlieb, wife of Mr. Ragbir. “The government took my husband away from me and for a time no one would tell me where he was. When we learned he was taken to an immigration prison over a thousand miles away, I was both heartbroken and outraged. They never should have taken him away from his community in the first place, and I will not rest until he is free.”
Mr. Ragbir is the Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, a faith-based coalition devoted to immigrant rights. He is one of several immigrant rights leaders who have been targeted for deportation by ICE in recent days. Jean Montrevil, a co-founder of the New Sanctuary Coalition, was deported to Haiti on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.
“We will call for action in our places of worship, in the streets, and in the courts until we receive justice for Ravi, Jean, and all others who face this inhumane system,” said New Sanctuary Coalition Co-Chair Rev. Kaji Dousa, Senior Pastor of Park Avenue Christian Church. “As people of faith, we must stand united against the targeting of our immigrant rights leaders.”
The New Sanctuary Coalition will be holding its weekly Jericho Walk at 26 Federal Plaza on Thursday January 18, 2018, at 11am, and at 201 Varick Street at 5pm, in support of justice for all immigrants, including Mr. Ragbir and Mr. Montrevil.