New York City Council members violently arrested protesting immigration activist's deportation
Jan 13 2018 by Desiree Burns
NYC Council member Jumaane Williams, one of the two council members arrested, was released, but he continues to speak about Ravi Ragbir's detainment, police response, and Trump's recent vulgar comments. "Now, more than ever, it is important to show solidarity in the face of policies that threaten our communities".
Ragbir, an immigrant from Trinidad, has faced the threat of deportation since he was convicted of wire fraud 16 years ago. However, he was detained by ICE during one of his regularly scheduled check-ins.
"Over the last 12 years, Mr. Ragbir's immigration case has undergone extensive judicial review at multiple levels of the nation's judicial system, including both immigration courts and federal appeals courts", said Rachael Yong Yow, ICE public affairs officer.
Ragbir was able to avoid detention then, but not this time around. Just past year, Ravi was recognized with the 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".
"Ravi Rabir means everything to this city", Kaji Dousa, the co-chair of Rabir's organisation, told NBC New York.
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!" The councilman was arraigned Thursday night after being charged with reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, obstructing government administration of medical services, and resisting arrest, and released without bail.
Rachael Yong Yow, a spokeswoman for the NY field office of ICE, said in a statement on Thursday that in the last 12 years Mr. Ragbir's immigration case has undergone extensive judicial review at multiple levels.
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Advocates say Ragbir's strong community ties and history of complying with ICE check-ins should be taken into account by ICE.
According toCommon Dreams, he had a "stay of removal", which would prevent him from being deported, that was supposed to be in effect until next week. He spent 22 months in immigration detention.
Hundreds of people - including several Indian Americans - gathered in front of the Jacob Javits Federal Building where Ragbir was detained.
She added that "In an exercise of discretion, the agency had previously allowed him to remain free from custody with periodic check-ins, while his case was under court review". ICE justified its decision and said he will remain in custody pending removal to Trinidad.
Video footage showed Williams being forcibly taken off the street and thrown against the hood of a vehicle before being handcuffed. "Freedom, resist. We are going to resist".
Eric Phillips, Mayor Bill de Blasio's spokesman, said in a statement that the mayor was briefed on the protest and police activity.
"He has since exhausted his petitions and appeals through the immigration courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. District Court", Yow said in a statement. During the meeting, the supporters were informed that Ragbir was being detained.