Indian-descent activist arrested in US, faces deportation
Washington: Leading immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir, an Indian-descent from Trinidad and Tobago, was arrested on Friday during a routine check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and ordered immediate deportation, irking local community in New York.
A large number of his supporters, including several Indian-Americans, gathered outside the Jacob Javits Federal Building where he was detained.
"Ravi is an acclaimed community leader, a loving father, and a steadfast immigrant rights activist.
His detention is entirely unwarranted and reflects the Trump administration's predatory behavior in New York City and across the country.
Ravi must be released immediately," said Congressman Joe Crowley, a top Democratic leader.
Ragbir, executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC, was detailed by ICE authorities during a routine check-in.
Soon thereafter hundreds gathered outside the federal immigration building in downtown New York City to show solidarity with Ragbir.
Ragbir arrived in the US from Trinidad and Tobago in 1991 on a visitor's visa. He became a lawful permanent resident in 1994.
According to New York Immigration Coalition, Ragbir has lived with the threat of deportation for nearly a decade, as the result of a 16-year old conviction for wire fraud.
He was placed into removal proceedings in 2006 and spent 22 months in immigration detention before being released in February 2008.
During immigration detention and since his release, Ragbir has worked tirelessly to end the use of immigration detention, stop deportations, and secure relief for countless individuals.
Previously, ICE officials had granted Ragbir prosecutorial discretion, including a stay of removal that was in effect until next week.
Known as a fixture in the immigrant rights movement, Ragbir was awarded the 2017 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."
ICE justified its decision and said he will remain in custody pending removal to Trinidad. "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.