Press Release: Supporters of Immigrant Rights Leader Ravi Ragbir Hold Solidarity Rally On Day of His ICE Check In

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Photo by Gili Getz

Ragbir not detained but must check in again July 23

Today at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, 150-200 community members rallied to support immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir for his check in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Ragbir was accompanied by a delegation of elected officials and faith leaders to his appointment inside 26 Federal Plaza. Although he was not detained, Ragbir must return on July 23.

At the rally, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams told the assembled crowd, “I happen to have the privilege of being a citizen. And everybody who has privilege has to use that to protect those who don’t, those who are being abused and oppressed. That is our duty to stand in the gap. It is our duty to make sure we are lifting up those who have been oppressed by a system…. How do you have a life when you have to check in every six months and you don’t know what’s going to happen?”

Pastor Kaji Dousa, Senior Pastor, Park Avenue Christian Church and co-chair, New Sanctuary Coalition, said at the rally, “Ravi Ragbir is one of the strongest forces in the immigration movement, standing up with and for righteousness, rights, and the soul of our city & nation. For his work, ICE has tried to silence and disappear him. Ravi belongs right here, in his home, New York City, which stands with him every step of the way. When he walks out of ICE today, he will walk right back into his activism. Because the government of this impeached President cannot and will not stop this movement.”

Congressmember Yvette Clarke, who also spoke at the rally and accompanied Ragbir inside the ICE office, said “I was honored to accompany Ravi, a highly revered human rights activist to his check in today, joined by Congressmember Nydia Velasquez. Of course there was a lot of bureaucratic tousling but we ultimately got into his check in. He is stayed again for another six months, but this system needs to be changed. He is no threat to our communities. He has been lawful in his presence and we look forward to his vindication.”

Alina Das, Ragbir’s attorney said, “When ICE detained Ravi two years ago, they said it was because of public safety. But we are the public, and we are safer because Ravi is here. ICE targeted Ravi because he spoke out against a cruel and unjust system. He is still here because the public has spoken out for him. We are grateful that Ravi is still with us, and we will continue to fight to protect the rights of all immigrants.”

Ragbir’s wife, Amy Gottlieb, said “We are so grateful to have the support of our legal team, our families, our friends, our elected officials, our faith leaders, as ICE continues to try to exert power over our lives. But we know that we will walk out each time, and that our power as a united community will overcome injustice and lead us to victory.”

Background: Ragbir received his greencard in 1994, but now faces the double punishment of deportation based on a single fraud conviction he received almost twenty years ago. He was given a final order of deportation in 2007 but was placed on an order of supervision in 2008, allowing him to live and work in the U.S. During that time, he became active in the immigrant rights movement, and paid the price for that activism when ICE detained him on Jan. 11, 2018, and tried to deport him.

A federal appeals court has recognized that the First Amendment protects immigrants from retaliation for their protected political speech and has issued a temporary stay of Mr. Ragbir’s deportation. The government is deciding whether to appeal the decision.

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Press Advisory: NY City Council Members and Advocates Declare that Ravi Must Stay

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THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

OFFICES OF COUNCIL MEMBERS YDANIS RODRIGUEZ and JUMAANE WILLIAMS

CITY HALL, NEW YORK, NY 10007

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

***Press Advisory***

Contact:

  • Stephanie Miliano / 954-534-2144 / smiliano@council.nyc.gov
  • Kevin Fagan / 917-608-8784 / kfagan@council.nyc.gov

New York, NY – Tomorrow, January 31st at 1pm on the steps of City Hall, Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams, alongside other elected officials, and advocates will stand with Ravi Ragbir to call for his permanent presence in the United States.

Yesterday, Monday, January 29th, a federal judge ordered Ragbir’s release from ICE detention. While his deportation has been stayed until February 9th, his deportation order is still in effect. Local and federal elected officials, and advocates will continue to work to reverse the Department of Homeland Securities decision to deport him.

WHAT: Press conference calling for Ravi Ragbir’s permanent presence in the United States

WHO: Ravi Ragbir; Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez, Jumaane Williams, Justin Brannan; New Sanctuary Coalition; elected officials; advocates; list in formation

WHEN: Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 at 1pm

WHERE: Steps of City Hall

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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:

Mon. 1/15 in NYC: MLK Solidarity Day for the Release of Immigrant Rights Leaders Ravi Ragbir and Jean Montrevil

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***MEDIA ADVISORY***

 MLK SOLIDARITY DAY FOR THE RELEASE OF IMMIGRANT RIGHTS LEADERS RAVI RAGBIR AND JEAN MONTREVIL

 Vigil to Be Held at Washington Square Park

Press Conference to Follow at Judson Memorial Church

WHAT: Rally to call for the immediate release of immigrant rights leaders, Ravi Ragbir, Executive Director of New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, and Co-Founder Jean Montrevil. Mr. Ragbir was detained on Thursday while reporting to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for a routine check-in. Mr. Ragbir’s detention comes just one week after ICE detained Jean Montrevil, another immigrant rights leader.

In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., faith leaders, elected officials, and immigration and legal advocates will come together to condemn the institutional oppression of marginalized communities and hold a “Jericho Walk” in Washington Square Park, around Ai Wei Wei’s “Arch” migration sculpture. A press conference will be held following the vigil to call for Mr. Montrevil and Mr. Ragbir’s release, and to honor the 18 people who were arrested putting their bodies on the line in the tradition of peaceful civil disobedience in defense of Mr. Ragbir.

In the face of Trump’s unprecedented assault on immigrant communities and blatant racism, the fight for the rights and dignity of immigrants is more important than ever.  Trump’s recent disparaging remarks about immigrants from Caribbean, Central American, and African countries highlight the critical need for continued resistance and unity.

SPEAKERS: New York City Councilmembers Jumaane Williams and Ydanis Rodriguez, who were among the 18 people arrested in an act of civil disobedience during Thursday’s solidarity vigil; Rev. Kaji Douša, whose grandfather stood with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial; Rev. Donna Schaper, civil rights leader and senior minister at Judson Memorial Church; Alina Das, Professor at New York School of Law and legal counsel to Ravi Ragbir; and loved ones of Jean and Ravi.

WHERE: Washington Square Arch & Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square S, New York, NY 10012 

WHEN: Monday, January 15

Media are also invited earlier events at the church the same day:

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

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