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.
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