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

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


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


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.

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Saturday Jan. 27 in NYC: Velázquez, Crowley Call on ICE to End Target of Immigrant Activists



 SATURDAY: Velázquez, Crowley Call on ICE to End Target of Immigrant Activists

Action Comes After Detainment of High-Profile NYC Community Activist, Ravi Ragbir

 (New York, NY) –On Saturday, January 27th, Reps. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) and Joe Crowley (D-NY), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, will join Amy Gottlieb, a community leader and wife of detained immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir, to denounce the targeting of immigrant activists by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Continue reading

Press Release: Opposition Grows Against ICE’s Aggressive Targeting of Immigrant Rights Activists

Community Organizations Across the U.S. Join Together To Condemn the Recent Actions of ICE and Demand the Department of Homeland Security Reverse the Agency’s Unlawful Operations

New York, NY:  Over 1,800 community organizations, immigrant rights groups, faith-based organizations, immigrant rights lawyers, professors, and community supporters from 50 states have submitted a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen condemning the targeting of leaders in the movement for immigrant rights in the United States. The letter calls for the immediate release of Ravi Ragbir and Eliseo Jurado Fernandez from immigration detention, the return of Jean Montrevil from Haiti, and a halt to the effort to deport Maru Mora-Villalpando, all immigrant rights leaders who have been targeted for deportation in recent weeks.

Ravi Ragbir is Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition and was detained by ICE on January 11th. He is currently being held in the Orange County Correctional Facility in Goshen, NY. Via phone, Ravi said “The powerful community response has inspired me. It is clear that this energy is not going to go away – we are going to grow and get stronger and continue fighting for fairness and humanity in our immigration policy and we will see a world in which all people are treated with dignity and respect.”

Jean Montrevil is co-founder of the New Sanctuary Coalition. He was arrested by Immigration and Customs officers on January 3rd and deported to Haiti on January 16. Jean stated, “My heart is broken. My family is broken. My kids life will never be the same. It is very sad to watch America moving to this direction. They came for me because I spoke out against injustice and broken immigration laws. Little did they know my supporters will continue to fight even more.”

Maru Mora-Villalpando leads Northwest Detention Center Resistance (NWDCR), a Tacoma organization that advocates for better treatment and conditions for detained immigrants and to stop the deportations that are tearing families apart. From Seattle, Maru said via text message, “I feel overwhelmed with love and support from so many, in so many different places. The reaction from our communities tells me we are in the path of liberation, that we are harvesting what we sow. People agree with us, these attacks are retaliation against our migrant justice work, and it won’t work because we all together will resist and ultimately win.”

Eliseo Jurado is the husband of immigrant rights activist Ingrid Encalada Latorre, who has taken sanctuary in Colorado churches since December 2016. Ingrid has publicly fought her own deportation based on a non-violent criminal offense.

The 1,800 organizations and individuals submitting the letter to DHS call for justice for these immigrant rights leaders, and an end to these practices. As the letter states, “DHS’s effort to silence political opposition through coercive government power sadly echoes some of the most shameful periods in our nation’s history. Our Constitution holds most dear the right of the people to come together and raise their voices in dissent. The viability of our democracy depends on the most robust protections for such dissent.”


Ravi is back in New York. Now, let’s bring him home!

unnamed (1)Thanks to your activism and support, Ravi has been transferred back to New York from Florida. He is being detained at Orange County Correctional Facility in Goshen, NY.

If you would like to write to him, sending him love & encouragement, address your letter as follows*:

Ravidath RAGBIR (A# 044-248-862)
Orange County Correctional Facility
110 Wells Farm Road
Goshen, NY 10924
*Do not include paperclips or staples with your letter.

Let us celebrate this victory, but dedicate ourselves to bringing him home permanently. Here are actions you can take:

  1. Write letters & Mail postcards to ICE and your elected officials demanding Ravi’s release. You can find postcards & instructions here:
  2. Continue to call ICE and your elected officials demanding Ravi’s release. There are new phone numbers listed below (you filled up the other mailboxes!).
  3. Keep tweeting & sharing Ravi’s story on social media using #IStandWithRavi. Consider sharing this video or this Op-Ed written by Amy, Ravi’s wife.

To join the mailing list, click here.

To receive text updates, text ISTANDWITHRAVI to 41411unnamed

unnamed (1)



Remarks by Rev. Kaji Douša at 1/15 Press Conference

The Rev. Kaji Douša is Senior Minister of Park Avenue Christian Church:

It used to be that I spent my days commemorating Dr. King’s birth on the path of least resistance: participating in interfaith park cleanups and the like. This felt safest to organizers. 50 years after Dr. King was murdered, we understand that the safe road is no longer viable. We understand that we indeed must resist. My grandfather stood shoulder to shoulder with Dr. King, stood on the dais for the March on Washington. My mother dodged bullets with King in rural Mississippi. The work of the activist is, unfortunately but necessarily dangerous. Continue reading

Press Release: Two hundred, including Faith leaders and Elected Officials, Gather in Solidarity for Release of Immigrant Rights Leaders Ravi Ragbir and Jean Montrevil on MLK Day

New York, NY: [Hundreds] gathered at a vigil in Washington Square Park and Judson Memorial Church to show solidarity with all those affected by the deportation machine, including immigrant rights leaders Ravi Ragbir and Jean Montrevil. Mr. Ragbir is the Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, and Jean Montrevil is one of its founders. Mr. Ragbir was detained on Thursday January 11, one week after ICE detained Mr. Montrevil. Today, faith leaders, elected officials, and immigration and legal advocates gathered in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to condemn the institutional oppression of marginalized communities and held a “Jericho Walk” in Washington Square Park, around Ai Wei Wei’s “Arch” migration sculpture.

New Sanctuary Coalition and Judson Memorial Church just became aware this morning that Jean Montrevil’s final appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) was denied on January 12. We believe he may be deported to Haiti imminently. We were not informed of the BIA decision directly, but encountered it by chance on the BIA website today. Mr. Montrevil’s lawyer has filed a petition for review (appeal) with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. His legal team has reason to believe that an official from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in New York inappropriately influenced the timing of this decision, if not the outcome of the decision itself and that this interference was improper. His lawyer is also filing an emergency motion for stay in the same court, as well as with the Federal District Court.

For press photos and video, please visit:

Amy Gottlieb, Mr. Ragbir’s wife and Associate Director at the American Friends Service Committee, said, “After seeing my husband through a plexiglass window at Krome Detention Center yesterday, I felt inspired as I walked out of the visitation room by his willingness to continue fighting against injustice. As I feel the trauma and violence of having Ravi torn away from me, and see that this is retaliation against him and others around the country, I share his commitment to keep up the struggle and win.”

Janay Cauthen, Mr. Montrevil’s former wife and mother of his children, said, “ICE abruptly and unnecessarily took Jean away from his family without warning. Antoine, Janiah, Jahsiah & Jamya deserve to have their dad with them NOW! Bring Jean Home Now! Jean should not continue to be dehumanized by unjust immigration laws. Why must ICE punish him over and over for something that happened almost 3 decades ago for which he already served his sentence?”

Rev. Kaji Douša, Co-Chair of the New Sanctuary Coalition and Senior Minister, Park Avenue Christian Church, said, “Deportation is an act of evil perpetrated by our government, primarily against people who come from the countries that the President has so shamelessly recently disparaged. Mass detention and deportation may be presented as inevitable, but in truth it is the result of choice. Our activism is all about igniting and inspiring different choices. We choose justice over unjust laws. We choose humans over the mechanisms of evil. God is watching and so are we. We are joined in solidarity to ensure the government makes the right choice.”

Donna Schaper, Senior Minister, Judson Memorial Church, said, “We now have reason to believe that Jean will be deported tomorrow, having abruptly and mysteriously lost his Board of Immigration Appeals case. We are looking into the possibility of undue and inappropriate influence by ICE in this decision. Pray with me that ICE will find a way to do the right thing and keep Jean with his congregation and his children.”

Alina Das, Co-Director of the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic and counsel to Mr. Ragbir, said, “People of conscience should be deeply disturbed by the targeting of immigrant rights leaders like Ravi Ragbir and Jean Montrevil. While we challenge the government’s unlawful actions in the courts, the most important struggle is the one that Ravi and Jean have championed themselves—bringing communities together to support the rights of all people living in this country.”

Sara Gozalo, Supervising Coordinator at the New Sanctuary Coalition, said, “Ravi and Jean represent what the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency fear most, leaders who refuse to live in the shadows and continue to shed a bright light into their injustice and racism. The intimidating and oppressing tactics of ICE will not deter the New Sanctuary Coalition’s staff, our immigrant community, our faith leaders nor our volunteers from our unapologetic efforts to stop detentions and deportations. The New Sanctuary Coalition  stands publicly in solidarity with families and communities resisting detention and deportation.”

New York City Councilmember, Jumaane Williams, one of the 18 arrested on Thursday January 11 after ICE arrested Ravi, said, “Trump’s recent comments have made clear what we’ve always known—he opposes all immigrants from black and brown countries. The detaining of Jean Montrevil and Ravi Ragbir by Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency stands as a human example of this attitude. Those that find the President’s words, and the views that portray, abhorrent should take a stand. Not to do so is to tacitly condone the overt racism of the President of the United States. “

Ben Ndugga-Kabuye of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), said, “Jean Montrevil and Ravi Ragbir represent thousands every day whose human rights are taken by the largest immigration detention system in the world. Respecting and expanding the rights of immigrants is the first step towards justice and we join hands with all who commit to this journey.”

To learn more about Mr. Ragbir’s story and advocacy,  visit and listen to the Indefensible Podcast here:

To learn more about Mr. Montrevil’s story and advocacy, visit:

To join the conversation on social media, please use hashtags #IStandwithRavi
and #FreeJeanNow.



Immigrant Rights Leader Ravi Ragbir Detained at Immigration Check-in


What: Emergency rally in support of Ravi Ragbir, Executive Director of New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City

Who:   Community members, faith leaders, elected officials, legal advocates

Where: Foley Square, New York, NY, near 26 Federal Plaza

When:  NOW


New York, NY: Nationally recognized immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir was detained today, while reporting to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a routine check-in. Hundreds are gathered outside the federal immigration building at 26 Federal Plaza in downtown New York City to show solidarity with all those affected by the deportation machine, including Ragbir, when ICE detained him.

Mr. Ragbir is the Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, a faith-based coalition devoted to immigrant rights.  Ragbir is a fixture in the immigrant rights movement, and was awarded the 2017 Immigrant Excellence Award by the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, given to those who show “deep commitment to the enhancement of their community.”

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