Press Release: Congresswoman Velázquez Introduces Private Bill for Immigrant Rights Leader Ravi Ragbir as Community Prepares for His Possible Deportation on February 10th

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 5, 2018

Contact Alejandra Lopez, alejandra@immdefense.org, tel: 917-294-9348 or Mizue Aizeki mizue@immdefense.org, tel: 646-543-7644

**For more information join the press call – Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 1:15pm. Register here: http://bit.ly/ravipresscall ** Presenters: Ravi Ragbir, Alina Das and Jessica Ro (NYU School of Law), Kaji Douša, Senior Minister, Park Avenue Christian Church, co-chair, New Sanctuary Coalition

Congresswoman Velázquez Introduces Private Bill for Immigrant Rights Leader Ravi Ragbir as Community Prepares for His Possible Deportation on February 10th

Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) today introduced H.R. 4937, a private immigration bill, on the floor of the House of Representatives. If signed into law, H.R. 4937 would provide Ravidath “Ravi” Ragbir, a nationally recognized immigrant rights leader who faces imminent deportation, with an avenue to permanent immigration status. Should ICE deport Mr. Ragbir, which could happen as early as Saturday, February 10, H.R. 4937 would still have effect and provide Mr. Ragbir with a right of return.

Mr. Ragbir, Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, was detained on January 11, 2018, at a routine ICE check-in in New York City. His detention was part of what growing numbers of elected officials, faith leaders, and community organizations are calling a surge of retaliation by ICE against outspoken immigrant rights activists who are vulnerable to deportation. Mr. Ragbir’s legal team from the Immigrant Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law won his release from detention on January 29, 2018, only to learn that ICE was ordering Mr. Ragbir to report for deportation on February 10.

“The outrage after Ravi’s detention by ICE is a testament to his status as a community pillar,” noted Congresswoman Velázquez.  “Ravi has dedicated himself to helping others and poses no threat to anyone, making threats to deport him nonsensical and inhumane. My bill puts our community’s support into legislative action. If enacted, it would allow Ravi to stay in the U.S. and, should he be removed, establishes a legal mechanism for him to return.”

“In addition to providing a potential legislative remedy for Ravi’s supporters to rally around, this bill will also send a signal to ICE and the Courts that Ravi enjoys strong support among the community and elected officials at all levels of government,” said Velázquez. “It is my hope that the Courts and ICE do the humane right thing by Ravi and this legislation sends them the message that we stand in solidarity with Ravi.”

Mr. Ragbir welcomes the introduction of H.R. 4937, while recognizing that his fight is far from over. “I cannot fully express the gratitude I feel to Congresswoman Velázquez, for taking a stand against ICE’s efforts to target those standing up for the rights of immigrants. In the absence of just and humane immigration reform, I hope that bills like this will be signed into law to recognize the contributions that immigrants make to this nation. In the meantime, I will continue to organize for all families who face the threat of exile due to this inhumane system.”

Kaji Douša, Co-Chair of the New Sanctuary Coalition Board and Senior Minister, Park Avenue Christian Church, said, “On February 10, ICE intends to exile one of the nation’s most outspoken immigrant leaders, Ravi Ragbir. We commend the action taken by Congresswoman Velázquez and we will continue to work hard to protect Ravi and so many others like him to show ICE that they can try to deport our leaders, but they will never deport the movement.”

Mr. Ragbir has been ordered to present himself for deportation on Saturday, February 10.

For more information please visit: https://ravidefense.wordpress.com and http://www.law.nyu.edu/immigrantrightsclinic/case-campaign-materials

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Watch: Ravi Ragbir receiving The Bishop’s Cross

Video by Derek DeBoer.

Ravi Ragbir received one of the Episcopal Church’s highest honors and deliver the homily at the main service at historic St. Ann & The Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn Heights on February 4. The Bishop’s Cross was awarded Sunday to Mr. Ragbir by the Right Reverend Lawrence C. Provenzano, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, which covers Brooklyn and Queens as well as Nassau and Suffolk counties. The Bishop’s Cross is a rare honor given to individuals in recognition of “exceptional service to the Church and to the community it serves,” a spokesperson for the diocese said.

Press Release: Ravi Ragbir, Immigrant-Rights Leader Fighting Deportation, to be Honored with Bishop’s Cross, Deliver Sunday Sermon at Episcopal Pro-Cathedral in Brooklyn Heights

FOR RELEASE SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2018

Ravi Ragbir, executive director of New Sanctuary Coalition and an internationally known leader of the immigrant rights movement, will receive one of the Episcopal Church’s highest honors and deliver the homily at the main service at historic St. Ann & The Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn Heights at 11:15am this Sunday, February 4. Continue reading

Press Release: Immigrant Rights Leader Ravi Ragbir Returns Home As Community Continues to Call for An End to the Targeting of Activists

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Photo by Alina Das

New York, NY –  Nationally recognized immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir was released from ICE detention yesterday evening following a federal court decision calling for his immediate release. Mr. Ragbir, Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, was detained on January 11, 2018, at a routine ICE check-in in New York City.

After being processed at 26 Federal Plaza on Monday evening, Mr. Ragbir was brought by an ICE officer to Judson Memorial Church around 8:00 pm, where a large group of supporters were gathered to welcome him home.

Today, Mr. Ragbir and his wife, Amy Gottlieb, are traveling to Washington D.C., as Ms. Gottlieb will be attending the State of the Union at the invitation of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. Last week, 31 Congressional representatives and nearly 1,800 community organizations and private individuals sent letters to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen condemning the targeting or Mr. Ragbir and other immigrant activists by ICE.

“I am thrilled to be home with my family and loved ones, and I know that it is due to the extraordinary community and legal support that I am privileged to have,” said Mr. Ragbir en route to Washington, D.C. “We have a struggle in front of us, but it is through our collective commitment to justice that human rights and happiness will persevere.”

“Ravi and I are so gratified by Judge Forrest’s order to release him and that she recognized that his detention was unconstitutional,” said Amy Gottlieb, wife of Mr. Ragbir and an immigrant rights advocate with American Friends Service Committee. “As we travel to Washington, DC, we are aware of the need to push even harder for fair and humane immigration laws that allow people to remain with their families in the United States, and we are committed to that effort. Attending the State of the Union with Congresswoman Velazquez is an important step that we hope will help raise awareness of the need for change.”

Mr. Ragbir, who received his greencard in 1994, was previously detained by ICE for nearly two years when he was placed in removal proceedings in 2006 for an old wire fraud conviction. He was released from immigration detention in 2008 when ICE determined that he was not a flight risk or danger to the community. Following his release, Mr. Ragbir became a community activist and currently leads a coalition of over 150 faith based groups that advocate for immigrant rights.

Mr. Ragbir has a challenge to his underlying conviction pending in federal court in New Jersey and a motion to reopen his removal proceedings before the Board of Immigration Appeals, neither of which have yet been adjudicated.

For further information, please visit:

Statement: Velázquez, Crowley Call on ICE to End Targeting of Immigrant Activists

[Watch archived Facebook Live video from the press conference here.]

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Photo by Murad Awawdeh

Members of Congress Demand Meeting with Trump Officials after Detainment of Ravi Ragbir, Community Leaders

(New York, New York) —Flanked by community leaders and immigration rights activists, Reps. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and members of the New York City Congressional delegation called today for a meeting with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to discuss the agency’s recent targeting of immigrant activists for detainment and deportation. Continue reading

NYCLU, ACLU Challenge Ravi Ragbir Arrest, Cite ICE Targeting of Activists

MEDIA CONTACT: NYCLU Press Office, 212.607.3372

 

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NEW YORK – The New York Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union today filed an amicus brief challenging the detention of immigrant rights leader and New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC Executive Director Ravi Ragbir, who was arrested earlier this month during a regular check in with immigration officials. The groups argue that Ragbir’s detention is contrary to Immigration and Customs Enforcement regulations and represents an alarming trend in which ICE targets immigrant rights leaders for deportation.

Continue reading