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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Media Advisory: Federal Appeals Court Set to Hear Oral Argument on Ragbir v. Homan, a First Amendment Case Challenging ICE’s Targeting of Immigrant Rights Activists

325px-Thurgood_Marshall_United_States_Courthouse_WTM3_NYU_FC_0026For Immediate Release

***Media Advisory***

New York, NY: On Monday, October 29, 2018, at 10 a.m., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will hear oral argument in Ragbir v. Homan, a First Amendment case challenging the government’s retaliation against immigrant activists for speaking out against immigration policies. The plaintiffs of Ragbir v. Homan seek, among other things, a court order restraining the government from deporting and otherwise targeting immigrant activists based on their protected political speech.

The Government’s attempt to silence its critics is exemplified by its targeting of New York immigrant rights leader, Ravi Ragbir, who was surveilled, arrested, and flown to Florida for deportation, in defiance of the government’s own regulations, protocol and procedure. This targeting and retaliation of its critics is unconstitutional and has a chilling effect on all those who would speak out against the Government, both citizen and noncitizen alike.

Numerous immigrant rights groups, faith leaders, elected officials, and directly impacted individuals have submitted briefs in support of the plaintiffs in this case. Their briefing is available at https://istandwithravi.org/category/legal-updates/

Stanton Jones of Arnold & Porter will deliver oral argument in the case.  After oral argument, attendees and community members will gather outside of the courthouse for a press conference, featuring key figures in the lawsuit and in the community, including Mr. Ragbir, Mr. Jones and other members of Mr. Ragbir’s legal team, faith leaders, and The Hon. Tish James, Public Advocate for the City of New York.

What: A court hearing and press conference about whether the government can retaliate against people who speak out against immigration policies by targeting and deporting them.

When: Monday, October 29, 2018 at 10 a.m. (Ragbir v. Homan is the fourth case scheduled that morning)

Where: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 40 Foley Square, Room 1703, New York, NY. A press conference will follow immediately after argument in Foley Square.

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