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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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.

Continue reading

Press Release: Rutgers Law School files amicus brief on behalf of law scholars and human rights advocates in support of Ravi Ragbir

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The Rutgers Law School International Human Rights Clinic filed an amicus brief on behalf of law scholars and human rights advocates in support of Ravi Ragbir, an immigrants’ rights activist who was recently released from detention after his abrupt and unconstitutional arrest by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). Mr. Ragbir is scheduled to be deported on March 15, 2018.

In its “friend of the court” amicus brief, the Rutgers Clinic argues that international law places great value on “political speech,” including criticizing United States immigration policy, and requires that Mr. Ragbir be allowed to speak without fear of retaliation. The Rutgers Clinic also argues that it is hypocritical for the U.S. to deport Ragbir for speaking about one of the country’s most important public policy issues, while simultaneously criticizing governments around the world for jailing advocates who speak publicly about the need for legal reform. In addition, the Clinic argues that Mr. Ragbir was targeted because of his prominent activism.

“This is a man who is a community leader and poses no threat to anyone. He advocates for legal reform in the most peaceful and constructive manner, and is well within his rights to do so,” said Professor Penny Venetis, Director of the Clinic. “International law protects immigrants in the United States from being retaliated against because of their political speech.”

The International Human Rights Clinic pursues cases and projects in U.S. domestic courts and international tribunals to address civil rights and human rights violations occurring within and beyond U.S. borders. It has litigated cutting-edge cases, including the landmark Hawa Abdi Jama v. United States INS, 22 F. Supp. 2d 353 (D.N.J. 1998), which held that detained immigrants are protected from abuse by international law.

Ragbir is the Executive Director of The New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC, an interfaith network of congregations, organizations, and individuals, who support people resisting detention and deportation. He is married to a Rutgers Law graduate Amy Gottlieb ’96, who is an associate regional director of American Friends Service Committee.

Eight Rutgers Law students from the Clinic contributed to the brief. The new hearing is scheduled for March 15, 2018.

On March 4 @ 11am, Ravi Ragbir to Lead Service and Community Solidarity Action at Judson Memorial Church

PRESS ADVISORY

SUNDAYNEW YORK, NY: In anticipation of the upcoming hearing of his First Amendment case against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Ravi Ragbir will give a sermon at Judson Memorial Church and lead a community action. The event will highlight the impact of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow indefinite detention (Jennings v. Rodriguez). Continue reading

New York University Sanctuary Resource of Interest to Ravi’s Supporters

via Paula Chakravartty of the NYU Sanctuary Coalition

SanctuarySyllabus-1-300x300We wanted to share with you some news from your neighbors at NYU. Having been inspired by the work that Ravi and  the New Sanctuary Coalition have been doing, we at the NYU’s Sanctuary Coalition are teaching an experimental collective course this semester on the history and politics of Migration and Sanctuary. The course is being taught by some 30+ faculty across many departments and schools in the university from the Law and Med School, to History, Literature, Politics and beyond. Alina Das was one of our first guest lecturers and we hope to have Ravi come and visit the class when his schedule frees up a bit. In the meantime, we wanted to share with you the progress of our course  in case it might be of use to the NSC movement and campaign, and its allies, in the form of political education. We have been putting up edited videos of our weekly lectures. Please do feel free to share and use. Your thoughts and feedback welcome. Contact us at nyusanctuary(at)protonmail.com