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In Arresting an Immigrant-Rights Activist, ICE Shows Its New Power

 

On Thursday, after officials in the New York City offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement informed him that he was going to be deported, the immigrant-rights activist Ravi Ragbir fainted. An ambulance was called to take Ragbir and his wife, Amy Gottlieb, who had accompanied him to ice’s offices, to New York-Presbyterian Hospital. When they arrived at the hospital, Gottlieb was asked to get out—to make room, she thought, for her husband to be wheeled out on a stretcher. But she was then surrounded by iceagents, and watched as the ambulance sped away. The agents said that they would soon let her know her husband’s whereabouts. A full day passed before she got a call from Ragbir himself. He was at a detention center in Miami.

Ragbir and Gottlieb, who are both fifty-three, have lived with the possibility of his deportation for a long time. A native of Trinidad, Ragbir came to the U.S. on a valid visa, in 1991. But following a wire-fraud conviction, in 2001, he has been allowed to remain in the country only at the discretion of immigration officials. During these years, officials had granted Ragbir a series of temporary stays, taking into account his family ties in the U.S. and his work in New York City as the executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, a group that advocates immigration reform and offers support to individuals fighting deportation. Yet Ragbir and Gottlieb had known that his mandatory check-in with ice last week might end differently—everything had changed after Donald Trump took office. They and their legal team had been preparing for the check-in for days, trying to anticipate different contingencies. Alina Das, his lawyer, had met with Scott Mechkowski, the assistant director of ice’s New York City field office. According to Das, she had offered Mechkowski documentation in support of Ragbir’s case, and Mechkowski had said that he would consider granting him a stay. But, ultimately, he didn’t. (Mechkowski could not be reached for comment.)

“It’s arbitrary and cruel,” Gottlieb told me this week. “Someone makes an appointment to go into a regularly scheduled appointment with a government agency, and that agency snatches you away from your family.”

Ragbir immigrated to the U.S. legally, and he is married to a U.S. citizen. But federal law allows immigrants with certain types of criminal convictions to be deported. His wire-fraud case was part of an investigation into a mortgage company that he worked for as a salesman—he was accused of accepting fraudulent loan applications—and, after his conviction, he served thirty months in prison. “Immigrants with criminal convictions essentially receive a double punishment,” Das told me. “Even after they pay their ‘debt to society,’ they go through the process of facing deportation.” Following his time in prison, Ragbir also spent nearly two years in immigration detention while his deportation case was considered.

Ragbir was eventually released on order of supervision, which required him to comply with regular check-ins but spared him deportation. In 2014, the Obama Administration issued new guidelines for ice that prioritized the deportation of immigrants who were considered public-safety threats or who had committed “serious” crimes—Ragbir and his lawyers considered this to be an additional measure of protection. But Trump reversed those guidelines immediately upon taking office. During the campaign, he had promised a crackdown on immigration, and, once President, he allowed ice more leeway in picking its targets.

One of the core missions of the New Sanctuary Coalition, where Ragbir has worked since 2010, is to help people in precisely his current situation. The group sends representatives to accompany people during their check-ins with ice and offers legal and advocacy services as needed. In March, at Ragbir’s last check-in, a handful of members from the coalition, along with New York City Council members and state senators, accompanied him to ice’s offices. Juan Carlos Ruiz, a founder of New Sanctuary, thinks that the presence of so many supporters overwhelmed the agency. Officials told Ragbir to come back in ten months. “I think they’re afraid when we’re an organized, aware, educated society to what’s going on,” Ruiz told me. “It takes away their power. It takes away the arbitrariness. Our practices and programs are designed to dismantle that. We put a name and a face to what’s going on.”

Ruiz believes that these tactics have allowed Ragbir and others to stave off deportation for as long as they have. “The protection they have had is from the visibility, which has given their cases urgency,” Ruiz told me. Still, he admits that there are limitations to what the group can do—and Ragbir’s case illustrates this. The week before Ragbir’s arrest, ice apprehended Jean Montrevil, a Haitian immigrant and activist whose deportation New Sanctuary had successfully fought, in 2010. Montrevil had been due for a mandatory check-in in the coming days, but ice agents picked him up where there would be few witnesses, and no supporters standing with him. Montrevil’s arrest had worried Ragbir and his supporters. “As soon as Jean was picked up, we knew it was a risk. We knew we had to be careful,” Gottlieb told me. On Tuesday morning, Montrevil was deported from Florida to Haiti. His ex-wife and their three children remain in New York.

Last week, ice released a statement on Ragbir’s case. He had, according to agency, “exhausted his petitions and appeals through the immigration courts, the Board of Immigration appeals, and the U.S. District Court.” In other words, it was time for him to go. But Das said that ice is wrong. There are ongoing legal proceedings, including a petition to reverse his 2001 conviction and sentencing that has been pending since February.

On Wednesday, ice agreed to transport Ragbir to a detention facility in the New York region; a judge had agreed with his lawyers that he shouldn’t be held in Florida, thousands of miles from home. Over the weekend, Gottlieb had flown to see Ragbir in Florida, where they spoke through Plexiglas. Gottlieb, an immigrant-rights activist herself, is used to these fights, but not to ones that hit so close. “How can this be happening to people we love?” she said. “To people I love? To my husband?”
Original Post

Ravi is a convicted criminal and his wife is a well connected Jewish immigration attorney who is scoring media coverage for him.  For the entire year of 2017, only 137 Guyanese were deported back to Guyana.  Only 128 Trinis were deported.  Those are low numbers considering the level of criminal activity in those communities.

A convicted criminal should be sent home. Keep America and Americans safe. 

"Ragbir immigrated to the U.S. legally, and he is married to a U.S. citizen. But federal law allows immigrants with certain types of criminal convictions to be deported. His wire-fraud case was part of an investigation into a mortgage company that he worked for as a salesman—he was accused of accepting fraudulent loan applications"

yuji22 posted:

A convicted criminal should be sent home. Keep America and Americans safe. 

"Ragbir immigrated to the U.S. legally, and he is married to a U.S. citizen. But federal law allows immigrants with certain types of criminal convictions to be deported. His wire-fraud case was part of an investigation into a mortgage company that he worked for as a salesman—he was accused of accepting fraudulent loan applications"

Starting this year, the Canadian government is going heavy on mortgage frauds, there are a few cases being investigated by the RCMP.

kp posted:
yuji22 posted:

A convicted criminal should be sent home. Keep America and Americans safe. 

"Ragbir immigrated to the U.S. legally, and he is married to a U.S. citizen. But federal law allows immigrants with certain types of criminal convictions to be deported. His wire-fraud case was part of an investigation into a mortgage company that he worked for as a salesman—he was accused of accepting fraudulent loan applications"

Starting this year, the Canadian government is going heavy on mortgage frauds, there are a few cases being investigated by the RCMP.

Good move.

Immigrant advocate Ravi Ragbir headed back to detention in NY area as community continues to rally

Ragbir was unexpectedly detained on Jan. 11 — after ICE officials told him that his reprieve from deportation would not be extended.

Ragbir was unexpectedly detained on Jan. 11 — after ICE officials told him that his reprieve from deportation would not be extended.

 (CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
 
Updated: Thursday, January 18, 2018, 3:02 AM

Federal agents will return immigrant-rights activist Ravi Ragbir to a holding facility in the New York City area while a judge weighs a bid for his release, Justice Department officials said Wednesday.

Ragbir was unexpectedly detained on Jan. 11 — after ICE officials told him that his reprieve from deportation would not be extended.

He was then transferred to a South Florida detention facility, where government lawyers said he would likely remain as a legal battle unfolded over his deportation.

But in a court filing Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Waterman signaled an about-face from federal officials.

Feds can't explain why ICE detained activist Ravi Ragbir

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

Amy Gottleib, wife of Ravi Ragbir, at a "Jericho March" during a Martin Luther King Jr. ceremony at Judson Memorial Church on Monday.

 (JEFFERSON SIEGEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

"ICE will exercise its discretion to transfer Mr. Ragbir from Miami to a facility within ICE's New York City Field Office's area of responsibility," Waterman wrote.

A Wednesday rally for Ragbir, meanwhile, drew over 100 supporters to the Holyrood Episcopal Church in Washington Heights.

Attendees included City Council members Jumaane Williams and Ydanis Rodriguez, both of whom were arrested last week when Ragbir's detention sparked a chaotic protest outside the Javits Federal Building in lower Manhattan.

 
NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

Protests erupt after immigrant rights leader detained by ICE

"We will not allow anyone to stop the right that we have to use peaceful civil disobedience in our nation," Rodriguez said Wednesday.

Williams called for a probe of the NYPD's role in Ragbir's arrest and transport.

Ragbir's outspoken persona led to federal authorities singling him out for deportation, said Public Advocate Letitia James.

"He exercised dissent," James said at the rally. "As a result of that, orders came from on high to penalize him."

Mitwah posted:
Drugb posted:

This jackass want us to support a thieman just like how he support pnc. 

Derick, why are you calling Abu a Jackass? You should take a good look in the mirror.

He obviously got me mixed up with someone else because I never showed any support  for  a political party in Guyana.  

Mitwah posted:
Drugb posted:

This jackass want us to support a thieman just like how he support pnc. 

Derick, why are you calling Abu a Jackass? You should take a good look in the mirror.

Mits, don't you think it's totally unfair for you to keep addressing members by their names when no one has ever mentioned yours?  

Leonora posted:
Mitwah posted:
Drugb posted:

This jackass want us to support a thieman just like how he support pnc. 

Derick, why are you calling Abu a Jackass? You should take a good look in the mirror.

Mits, don't you think it's totally unfair for you to keep addressing members by their names when no one has ever mentioned yours?  

To be fair, druggie calls Mits by the name "Lilmohan" because he believes that is Mits real name. But you right, to be fair Mits should jus call him De Goads.

Drugb posted:

Druggie never call any mits lilmohan. And druggie name is not derrick. This is just a handle that i come here to buss yall ass when you get out of hand. 

So you are in denial. It is considered one of the most primitive of the defense mechanisms because it is characteristic of early childhood development.

Leonora posted:
Mitwah posted:
Drugb posted:

This jackass want us to support a thieman just like how he support pnc. 

Derick, why are you calling Abu a Jackass? You should take a good look in the mirror.

Mits, don't you think it's totally unfair for you to keep addressing members by their names when no one has ever mentioned yours?  

Nope! He is the one who wants to get personal and plus his hilarious labelling; all backfiring on him. He is really the jackass as depicted by his Avatar. Perhaps you prefer that we call him Jack. 

Hi Press Release: Federal Court Orders Release of Detained Immigrant Rights Leader Ravi Ragbir As Community Continues to Call for An End to the Targeting of Activists
Posted on January 29, 2018
New York, NY – A federal court judge today ordered the immediate release of nationally recognized immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir. 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.

Judge Katherine B. Forrest, who presided over the case, held that ICE violated Mr. Ragbir’s due process rights by his “abrupt and by all counts unnecessary detention.” “Taking such a man, and there are many such men and women like him, and subjecting him to what is rightfully understood as no different or better than penal detention is certainly cruel,” wrote Judge Forrest. “We as a country need and must not act so. The Constitution commands better.”

The New York University School of Law’s Immigrant Rights Clinic represents Mr. Ragbir in his lawsuit. Brittany Castle and Jeremy “Cody” Cutting, who presented the case on behalf of Mr. Ragbir with clinic supervisors Alina Das and Jessica Rofé at today’s hearing, stated, “Thousands of our community members live and work in this country with removal orders just like Mr. Ragbir. We are pleased that Judge Forrest recognizes that this slip of paper erases neither their constitutional rights nor their humanity.”

Mr. Ragbir, who received his greencard in 1994, was previously detained by ICE for nearly two years when he was placed in removal proceedings in 2006 for an old wire fraud conviction. He was released from immigration detention in 2008 when ICE determined that he was not a flight risk or danger to the community. Following his release, Mr. Ragbir became a community activist and currently leads a coalition of over 150 faith based groups that advocate for immigrant rights.

“The judge’s decision restores my faith in the power of our institutions to protect the rights of people facing such a cruel and inhumane system,” said Amy Gottlieb, wife of Mr. Ragbir and an immigrant rights advocate with American Friends Service Committee. “I am so thrilled that Ravi will be home with me, as he always should have been. Now the fight is to make sure Ravi can remain here with his family and continue his work to support immigrant rights in the United States.”

In the days since Mr. Ragbir’s detention, a growing number of community organizations and elected officials have questioned ICE’s motives in targeting Mr. Ragbir. Last week, nearly 30 Congressional representatives and nearly 1,800 community organizations and private individuals sent letters to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen condemning the targeting or Mr. Ragbir and other immigrant activists by ICE.

The spectre of political motivations was felt in the courtroom as the parties debated why ICE had taken Mr. Ragbir into custody after previously recognizing his contributions to the community and his pending legal challenges to his removal for so many years. In a statement following the hearing, Das explained, “Detention can never be used to silence dissent. Mr. Ragbir is a husband, father, and community leader who has worked tirelessly to advocate for justice in our immigration system. There was simply no legitimate basis to detain him.”

Mr. Ragbir has a challenge to his underlying conviction pending in federal court in New Jersey and a motion to reopen his removal proceedings before the Board of Immigration Appeals, neither of which have yet been adjudicated. “We have been pursuing justice for fundamental errors in Mr. Ragbir’s criminal and immigration proceedings for several years,” said Rofé. “We will continue to fight for his day in court on these claims as the community calls for an end to the pursuit of Mr. Ragbir’s deportation and the targeting of other activists.”

Mr. Ragir’s legal team and wife traveled to the facility after the hearing and anticipate that he will be released later today.

For more information, please visit:
http://www.law.nyu.edu/immigra...e-campaign-materials
https://ravidefense.files.word...r-decision-jan29.pdf

On Friday, a federal judge stayed the deportation of New York City immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir, after he filed a free speech lawsuit arguing immigration officials unconstitutionally used their power to suppress political dissent by targeting outspoken activists for surveillance and deportation. The judge stayed the deportation only one day before Ravi Ragbir was scheduled to be deported. He has now been ordered to check in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement on March 15. 

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