Indian-origin immigrant activist detained sparks protest

Indian-origin immigrant activist detained sparks protest

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson criticized federal agents and city police Thursday for what he called an overly aggressive response to a protest sparked by the detainment of an immigrant-rights leader.

Eighteen people were arrested during the protest, Buzzfeed reported.

Ragbir is also the executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of NY that works to help families resist detention and deportation in the United States, according to the Coalition's website.

"Ravi Ragbir means everything to this city", New Sanctuary Coalition Co-Chair Rev. Kaji Dousa told Democracy Now! on Thursday.

Protesters gathered outside 26 Federal Plaza after immigration officials detained prominent immigration advocate Ravi Ragbir during a routine check-in.

Mayor de Blasio said the city will investigate the NYPD's handling of a protest against the deportation of immigration activist Ravi Ragbir after officers' clashes with demonstrators, including two City Council members who were arrested. For a number of years, Ragbir's check-ins were routine.

"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. 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".

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Activists are encouraging others to call the ICE offices and NY senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to demand Ragbir's release. Following removal proceedings in 2006, he spent almost two years in immigration detention before his release in February 2008, a period during which he became a rising voice for the country's immigrant community.

In a statement, an ICE spokesperson said that over the last 12 years, 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".

Following a group prayer, Schaper, who works closely with Ragbir, remained resilient, asserting the strength of her surrounding community.

"In each review", the statement continued, "the courts have uniformly held that Mr. Ragbir does not have a legal basis to remain in the U.S".

"He has since exhausted his petitions and appeals through the immigration courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the US District Court".

The statement adds that Ragbir is a long-time permanent resident of the United States, community activist, father, and husband.

Williams is seen in the video and photos in a gray suit and red socks. Then, what had started as a peaceful rally turned raucous when word spread of his detention.

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