First Amendment Lawsuit Challenging the Targeting of Immigrant Rights Activists: Federal Government Agrees to Stay Mr. Ragbir’s Deportation Temporarily

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 9, 2018

Immigrant Rights Leader Ravi Ragbir and Community Organizations File First Amendment Lawsuit Challenging the Targeting of Immigrant Rights Activists Federal Government Agrees to Stay Mr. Ragbir’s Deportation Temporarily

New York, NY —  Immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir, together with the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, CASA de Maryland, Detention Watch Network, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the New York Immigration Coalition, filed suit (Ragbir v. Homan) in federal district court in the Southern District of New York today to challenge the recent targeting of immigrant rights activists by federal immigration officials. Pending briefing and consideration of a preliminary injunction motion, the government has agreed to stay Mr. Ragbir’s deportation temporarily. Continue reading

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio writes to ICE asking to stay Ravi Ragbir’s deportation

[View the original letter here]

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Mr. Thomas Decker
Field Office Director
New York Field Office
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 9th Floor, Suite 9-110
26 FederalPlaza New York, New York 10278-0004

Dear Director Decker:

I am writing to urge you to stay the removal of a beloved New York City community leader, Ravi Ragbir.

In his more than 20 years as a lawful permanent resident in the United States, Mr. Ragbir has made significant contributions to the city’s civic life and has been widely recognized for his work as a speaker, educator, and organizer on issues related to immigrant rights. He and others like him have played a crucial role in making New York a beacon of diversity and inclusion for so many. Forcing him to retum to Trinidad would not only affect his wife and child – who are U.S. citizens – but would adversely impact the larger immigrant community. The breadth and depth of Mr. Ragbir’s ties in our city should weigh heavily in favor of a stay of his removal.

Despite your office’s claim to prioritize for deportation those individuals who pose a public safety risk, these actions and others have raised serious concems about how ICE is targeting immigrants. Over this past year, New York City has experienced a spike in ICE activity, especially in courtrooms – an area most New Yorkers consider safe.

These activities not only create fear in immigrant communities, but undermine public safety. New York City is the safest big city in America because of the trust between law enforcement and communities, including immigrant New Yorkers. When ICE takes aggressive action against leaders in immigrant communities, it casts a chilling effect on immigrants’ willingness to engage with govemment and law enforcement generally, undercutting that trust.

The safety and interest of New Yorkers should be central to any determination concerning Mr. Ragbir, or other individuals arrested by ICE. Therefore, I request that ICE exercise its discretion to permit Mr. Ragbir to remain with his family in New York.

Sincerely,

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Bill de Blasio Mayor

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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Monday, Feb. 5: #IStandWithRavi Twitter Storm from 7-8pm EST

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Tonight, Monday February 5 between 7pm-8pm Eastern, help us make Ravi a trending topic on Twitter by tweeting the hashtags #IStandWithRavi and #NewSanctuaryCity along with messages and images of love and support.

Today, Rep. Nydia Velazquez will be making an announcement regarding Ravi, and our support this evening will be critical in bringing attention both to Ravi and to immigrants under attack all across the United States.

Sample Tweets:

  • Thank you Rep. Velazquez! @NydiaVelazquez #IStandWithRavi
  • We only get stronger. #IStandWithRavi #NewSanctuaryCity
  • You can’t deport a movement. #IStandWithRavi #NewSanctuaryCity
  • Keep Ravi home! #IStandWithRavi #NewSanctuaryCity
  • Make your own!!

And, if you retweet something from Rep. Velazquez or others, please add #IStandWithRavi

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.