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NYC to probe NYPD conduct in rally against activist's deportation

13 January 2018

Nationally recognized immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir was detained today, while reporting to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a routine check-in.

The sudden arrest of the Trinidadian-born migrant, whose legal status - like many migrants - has been in a state of limbo for nearly ten years, sparked demonstrations outside the Manhattan federal building where he is being held.

Reverend Dr. Donna Schaper of Judson Memorial Church said that the city and the nation would be much worse off if Ragbir were to be deported.

Ragbir has been facing the threat of deportation for almost a decade, community members said, due to a "16-year-old conviction for wire fraud". He is now executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition.

SAALT and other organizations have started a massive campaign to get Ragbir released from ICE detention, asking community members to call the offices of Sens.

In a statement late Thursday, an ICE spokeswoman said Ragbir had "exhausted" his petitions and appeals and would be deported.

"Obviously we are incredibly disappointed and, frankly, outraged by this decision", Das told VOA. "We continue to pursue our options - the legal challenges - to see that he will hopefully be freed soon and back with his wife and with the community that loves him".

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At the time this report was published, ICE had not responded to VOA's request for comment regarding Ragbir's arrest.

Democracy Now! was there this morning when New York City police officers violently shoved protesters and city council members aside as they escorted an ambulance away from 26 Federal Plaza with Ragbir inside to an ICE detention center.

Some tense moments erupted Thursday during a rally in Lower Manhattan for undocumented immigrants facing deportation. As she spoke of Ragbir and the nationwide workplace raids, tears rolled down beneath her sunglasses.

"It is crippling for the immigrant community", Young said. "If you are here in the country and you decide to go find a job, and they're targeting your workplace, you're not a criminal".

Previously, those community members said, ICE officials had granted Ragbir "prosecutorial discretion, including a stay of removal that was in effect until next week".

"After those arrested had been removed, the remaining group of activists continued to chant in support not only of those who had been taken by the NYPD but Ravi himself", Williams said. "We're not even one bit afraid".

Trivedi told India-West that after Ragbir was released from immigration detention in 2008, he was inspired by his experiences while incarcerated to speak out on prison reform and immigrant rights.

NYC to probe NYPD conduct in rally against activist's deportation