Press Release: Supporters of Immigrant Rights Leader Ravi Ragbir Hold Solidarity Rally On Day of His ICE Check In

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Photo by Gili Getz

Ragbir not detained but must check in again July 23

Today at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, 150-200 community members rallied to support immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir for his check in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Ragbir was accompanied by a delegation of elected officials and faith leaders to his appointment inside 26 Federal Plaza. Although he was not detained, Ragbir must return on July 23.

At the rally, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams told the assembled crowd, “I happen to have the privilege of being a citizen. And everybody who has privilege has to use that to protect those who don’t, those who are being abused and oppressed. That is our duty to stand in the gap. It is our duty to make sure we are lifting up those who have been oppressed by a system…. How do you have a life when you have to check in every six months and you don’t know what’s going to happen?”

Pastor Kaji Dousa, Senior Pastor, Park Avenue Christian Church and co-chair, New Sanctuary Coalition, said at the rally, “Ravi Ragbir is one of the strongest forces in the immigration movement, standing up with and for righteousness, rights, and the soul of our city & nation. For his work, ICE has tried to silence and disappear him. Ravi belongs right here, in his home, New York City, which stands with him every step of the way. When he walks out of ICE today, he will walk right back into his activism. Because the government of this impeached President cannot and will not stop this movement.”

Congressmember Yvette Clarke, who also spoke at the rally and accompanied Ragbir inside the ICE office, said “I was honored to accompany Ravi, a highly revered human rights activist to his check in today, joined by Congressmember Nydia Velasquez. Of course there was a lot of bureaucratic tousling but we ultimately got into his check in. He is stayed again for another six months, but this system needs to be changed. He is no threat to our communities. He has been lawful in his presence and we look forward to his vindication.”

Alina Das, Ragbir’s attorney said, “When ICE detained Ravi two years ago, they said it was because of public safety. But we are the public, and we are safer because Ravi is here. ICE targeted Ravi because he spoke out against a cruel and unjust system. He is still here because the public has spoken out for him. We are grateful that Ravi is still with us, and we will continue to fight to protect the rights of all immigrants.”

Ragbir’s wife, Amy Gottlieb, said “We are so grateful to have the support of our legal team, our families, our friends, our elected officials, our faith leaders, as ICE continues to try to exert power over our lives. But we know that we will walk out each time, and that our power as a united community will overcome injustice and lead us to victory.”

Background: Ragbir received his greencard in 1994, but now faces the double punishment of deportation based on a single fraud conviction he received almost twenty years ago. He was given a final order of deportation in 2007 but was placed on an order of supervision in 2008, allowing him to live and work in the U.S. During that time, he became active in the immigrant rights movement, and paid the price for that activism when ICE detained him on Jan. 11, 2018, and tried to deport him.

A federal appeals court has recognized that the First Amendment protects immigrants from retaliation for their protected political speech and has issued a temporary stay of Mr. Ragbir’s deportation. The government is deciding whether to appeal the decision.

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Press Advisory: Supporters of Immigrant Rights Leader Ravi Ragbir Will Hold Solidarity Rally On Day of His ICE Check In: Thursday, Jan. 23

Jan 23 raviFor Immediate Release

Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020

***PRESS ADVISORY***

On Thursday, Jan. 23, Ravi Ragbir, Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, will be attending his supervision appointment with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The agency continues to target Ravi for his activism, as part of a nationwide pattern and practice of targeting activist leaders. A federal court stay of removal prevents ICE from deporting him.

Supporters, including elected officials, will gather to speak out against ICE’s harassment of our communities and its targeting of our leaders. We will honor those leaders who have already been deported, and we will continue to fight to dismantle this system.

What: Solidarity Action for Ravi Ragbir at his ICE check-in including a rally with speakers and a silent Jericho March vigil Continue reading

Pack the Court for Ravi Oct. 30!

James_A._Byrne_United_States_CourthouseRavi has a case in the Third Circuit with oral argument set for Wednesday, October 30, 2019 in Philadelphia, at approximately 9am. The case is on appeal from the federal court in New Jersey, which denied Ravi post-conviction relief that would have given him the opportunity to reverse his deportation order.

Depending on the number of people who can come, the New Sanctuary Coalition and Ravi’s Defense Committee will coordinate a bus or carpools.

If you are interested in attending, please sign up here by Wednesday, October 23. Once you have signed up, you will receive information about traveling to Philadelphia to the hearing on October 30.

Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez Fights for Prominent NY Immigrant Activist Ravi Ragbir

For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Alex Haurek
May 21, 2019 (202) 225-2361
Velázquez Fights for Prominent NY Immigrant Activist Ravi Ragbir

Introduces Private Bill Protecting NYC Community Advocate from Deportation

Washington, D.C.¬¬ – Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) has taken legislative action to grant legal status to prominent local immigrant rights advocate, Ravi Ragbir. Last year, after being taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Ragbir was ordered released by the Courts, following an outcry from elected officials, advocacy groups and others. Most recently, the 2nd Circuit Court ruled that Ragbir cannot be deported for now because it is possible ICE tried to silence his advocacy by deporting him.

Velázquez’s bill would grant Ragbir legal permanent status and, should he be deported, provide him a legal right to return to the United States. While the 2nd Circuit ruled in Ravi’s favor, he remains in jeopardy should courts rule against him in the future.

“Ravi Ragbir has been a pillar in our community and ICE’s efforts to deport him are cruel and immoral,” said Velázquez. “Not only am I concerned for Ravi from a humanitarian perspective, but ICE’s repeated targeting of him raises serious 1st Amendment concerns and fit a broader pattern of the agency unfairly pursuing those who speak out against the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant policies.”

“I wish to thank Rep. Velázquez for introducing this bill because the immigration system is inhumane and we need to keep families together,” said Ragbir.

Separately, Velázquez has been a leader on immigration issues, authoring the American Promise Act, legislation that would prevent deportation of beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). That measure has been paired with other Democratic efforts to assist DREAMers and is expected to be considered in the House in the next several weeks.

Her legislation to assist Ragbir has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.

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Press Release: Federal Appeals Court Holds that The First Amendment Protects Immigrant Rights Activists from ICE Retaliation

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New York, NY —  A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of immigrant-rights activist Ravi Ragbir, concluding that the First Amendment prohibits the government from targeting immigration activists for deportation based on their political speech. “To allow this retaliatory conduct to proceed would broadly chill protected speech, among not only activists subject to final orders of deportation but also those citizens and other residents who would fear retaliation against others,” the decision states. It goes on to explain:

Ragbir’s speech implicates the apex of protection under the First Amendment. His advocacy for reform of immigration policies and practices is at the heart of current political debate among American citizens and other residents. Thus, Ragbir’s speech on a matter of “public concern” is at “the heart of . . . First Amendment[] protection,” and “occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values.’”  Because Ragbir’s speech concerns “political change,” it is also “core political speech” and thus “trenches upon an area in which the importance of First Amendment protections is at its zenith.” Indeed, his “speech critical of the exercise of the State’s power lies at the very center of the First Amendment.”  (citations omitted).

The court of appeals concluded: “Ragbir’s speech implicates the highest protection of the First Amendment,” and “he has adduced plausible — indeed, strong — evidence that officials responsible for the decision to deport him did so based on their disfavor of Ragbir’s speech (and its prominence.”  

The decision further held that a federal statute stripping courts of their power to hear these First Amendment claims is itself unconstitutional. The court of appeals sent the case back to the district court to consider the case in light of its conclusions, directing the district court to stay Mr. Ragbir’s deportation as it considers the next steps in the case. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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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