Indian-descent activist arrested in USA, faces immediate deportation

Immigration activist Ravi Ragbir

Police and immigrant-rights protesters clashed Thursday outside 26 Federal Plaza, New York City's immigration court, after word spread that Ravi Ragbir, a well-known activist known to protect immigrant families from deportation, had himself been detained by immigration authorities inside the building.

De Blasio, who has been arrested in decidedly calmer, more choreographed situations at past protests, said he believed the council members were engaging in "a conscious act of civil disobedience", but that it had not gone the way civil disobedience usually had in his experience.

Ragbir was attending his required annual ICE check-in when federal agents made the arrest.

From Twitter, Councilman Rodriguez denounced the shameful treatment of migrants.

Eighteen people were arrested during the protest, Buzzfeed reported.

He also said ICE officials shoved people to the ground and that it "lasted a while".

In a video taken by NY1 Manhattan reporter Michael Scotto and photographer Izzy Fleming, Johnson and Rodriguez are seen approaching cops near the ambulance truck and shouting "Ravi!" along with other protesters. In response, Johnson asks, "Officer, who's your commanding officer?"

"A 15-year green card holder, Ravi was detained and ordered deported in 2006 by an immigration judge - without a hearing - based on a conviction for fraud, which he is now seeking to vacate, based on factual and legal errors in his trial", the statement added.

Officers are seen grabbing Williams, handcuffing him and slamming him onto the front of a vehicle.

ICE officials issued Ragbir a stay of removal in 2011, which has been renewed since. "Resist. Freedom. Resist. We are going to resist".

Image Zoom
Image Zoom

"The area is covered extensively by cameras", Phillips tweeted, "and we'll be reviewing the footage to get to the bottom of what happened".

Sergeant Jessica McRorie, an NYPD spokeswoman, said there is "extensive video" of the incident and that it is being reviewed.

"It appears the police were clearing a path for an ambulance with a patient that was en route to a hospital", an NYPD spokesperson said.

His stay of removal was in effect until next week, according to New Sanctuary Coalition NYC.

At the time this report was published, ICE had not responded to VOA's request for comment regarding Ragbir's arrest. ICE justified its decision and said he will remain in custody pending removal to Trinidad.

"The detention of both Ravi and Jean is an affront to faith-based communities everywhere", Rev. Chloe Breyer, executive director of the Interfaith Coalition of New York City, said in a statement.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley also issued a statement after ICE detained Ragbir.

Mahfuzur Rahman, a student at City College of NY, said, "We know with Ravi, their entire accusation is based on a conviction from 20 years ago, which he served and since then he's been an excellent citizen-he's a better citizen than me!"

He is married to Amy Gottlieb, a US citizen and fellow immigration activist, but has been unable to regularize his immigration status through marriage because of his prior conviction.

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