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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.