UPDATED ON MONDAY, JANUARY 15, 2018. 6:45PM
Join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #IStandwithRavi and #FreeJeanNow.
Press Release: Two hundred, including Faith leaders and Elected Officials, Gather in Solidarity for Release of Immigrant Rights Leaders Ravi Ragbir and Jean Montrevil on MLK Day.
New York, NY: [Hundreds] gathered at a vigil in Washington Square Park and Judson Memorial Church to show solidarity with all those affected by the deportation machine, including immigrant rights leaders Ravi Ragbir and Jean Montrevil. Mr. Ragbir is the Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, and Jean Montrevil is one of its founders. Mr. Ragbir was detained on Thursday January 11, one week after ICE detained Mr. Montrevil. Today, faith leaders, elected officials, and immigration and legal advocates gathered in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to condemn the institutional oppression of marginalized communities and held a “Jericho Walk” in Washington Square Park, around Ai Wei Wei’s “Arch” migration sculpture.
New Sanctuary Coalition and Judson Memorial Church just became aware this morning that Jean Montrevil’s final appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) was denied on January 12. We believe he may be deported to Haiti imminently. We were not informed of the BIA decision directly, but encountered it by chance on the BIA website today. Mr. Montrevil’s lawyer has filed a petition for review (appeal) with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. His legal team has reason to believe that an official from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in New York inappropriately influenced the timing of this decision, if not the outcome of the decision itself and that this interference was improper. His lawyer is also filing an emergency motion for stay in the same court, as well as with the Federal District Court.
Amy Gottlieb, Mr. Ragbir’s wife and Associate Director at the American Friends Service Committee, said, “After seeing my husband through a plexiglass window at Krome Detention Center yesterday, I felt inspired as I walked out of the visitation room by his willingness to continue fighting against injustice. As I feel the trauma and violence of having Ravi torn away from me, and see that this is retaliation against him and others around the country, I share his commitment to keep up the struggle and win.”
Janay Cauthen, Mr. Montrevil’s former wife and mother of his children, said, “ICE abruptly and unnecessarily took Jean away from his family without warning. Antoine, Janiah, Jahsiah & Jamya deserve to have their dad with them NOW! Bring Jean Home Now! Jean should not continue to be dehumanized by unjust immigration laws. Why must ICE punish him over and over for something that happened almost 3 decades ago for which he already served his sentence?”
Rev. Kaji Douša, Co-Chair of the New Sanctuary Coalition and Senior Minister, Park Avenue Christian Church, said, “Deportation is an act of evil perpetrated by our government, primarily against people who come from the countries that the President has so shamelessly recently disparaged. Mass detention and deportation may be presented as inevitable, but in truth it is the result of choice. Our activism is all about igniting and inspiring different choices. We choose justice over unjust laws. We choose humans over the mechanisms of evil. God is watching and so are we. We are joined in solidarity to ensure the government makes the right choice.”
Donna Schaper, Senior Minister, Judson Memorial Church, said, “We now have reason to believe that Jean will be deported tomorrow, having abruptly and mysteriously lost his Board of Immigration Appeals case. We are looking into the possibility of undue and inappropriate influence by ICE in this decision. Pray with me that ICE will find a way to do the right thing and keep Jean with his congregation and his children.”
Alina Das, Co-Director of the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic and counsel to Mr. Ragbir, said, “People of conscience should be deeply disturbed by the targeting of immigrant rights leaders like Ravi Ragbir and Jean Montrevil. While we challenge the government’s unlawful actions in the courts, the most important struggle is the one that Ravi and Jean have championed themselves—bringing communities together to support the rights of all people living in this country.”
Sara Gozalo, Supervising Coordinator at the New Sanctuary Coalition, said, “Ravi and Jean represent what the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency fear most, leaders who refuse to live in the shadows and continue to shed a bright light into their injustice and racism. The intimidating and oppressing tactics of ICE will not deter the New Sanctuary Coalition’s staff, our immigrant community, our faith leaders nor our volunteers from our unapologetic efforts to stop detentions and deportations. The New Sanctuary Coalition stands publicly in solidarity with families and communities resisting detention and deportation.”
New York City Councilmember, Jumaane Williams, one of the 18 arrested on Thursday January 11 after ICE arrested Ravi, said, “Trump’s recent comments have made clear what we’ve always known—he opposes all immigrants from black and brown countries. The detaining of Jean Montrevil and Ravi Ragbir by Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency stands as a human example of this attitude. Those that find the President’s words, and the views that portray, abhorrent should take a stand. Not to do so is to tacitly condone the overt racism of the President of the United States. “
Ben Ndugga-Kabuye of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), said, “Jean Montrevil and Ravi Ragbir represent thousands every day whose human rights are taken by the largest immigration detention system in the world. Respecting and expanding the rights of immigrants is the first step towards justice and we join hands with all who commit to this journey.”
Friday, January 12, 2018. New York City – A group of people gathered yesterday, Thursday, January 11, in front of the immigration detention center in Manhattan in support of Ravi Ragbir.
Use the hags tags: #RaviRagbir #IStandWithRavi to support Ravi.
“The message that Ravi Ragbir had been detained went out at 10:09 a.m., but it seemed to reach people in waves. One by one, hundreds of protesters marching in silence around the federal building where Ragbir was checking in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement lifted their phones and registered the same look of disbelief. Their expressions led others to ask in hushed tones what had happened, and word continued to travel this way, by phone or by face, until everyone in the procession knew.
A little before 11:00 a.m., an announcement was made that Ragbir had fainted, but recovered quickly, and would be taken out of the building in an ambulance.
As the vehicle pulled onto the street with Ragbir and Gottlieb inside, dozens of his supporters formed a wall around it, blocking the flow of traffic in an act of spontaneous, nonviolent resistance. Police started shoving and detaining protesters, including members of the New York City Council, as the ambulance moved at a crawl through Lower Manhattan.
The traffic was so still at one point that I watched as a cop listlessly tied his shoes on the bumper of the ambulance. Around him, more people were being arrested. People observing from the sidewalk shouted “shame!” at an officer ripping a banner out of the hands of a seated protester. Officers pulled at the jacket of City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez as they tried to arrest him, while protesters and aides gathered around them calling on the cops to show restraint. Council member Jumaane Williams, a little ways down the block, received similar treatment before being slammed into the hood of a car and cuffed.”_Katie McDonough
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) January 11, 2018
BREAKING: immigrant rights leader and ED of @NewSanctuaryNYC Ravi Ragbir has been detained and is being transported in an ambulance. Allies are demanding his release #IStandwithRavi #OurNY pic.twitter.com/YF8SkqCv4C
— New York Immigration Coalition (@thenyic) January 11, 2018
@nytimes WHY HAVE YOU NOT TWEETED ABOUT THIS??? @NY1 Arrests were made in Lower Manhattan during protests that broke out after immigration officials detained prominent immigration advocate #RaviRagbir. pic.twitter.com/S4dYNrsEut
— Miss Myrtle (@MissMyrtle2) January 11, 2018
City Council members Jumaane Williams and Ydanis Rodriguez were among 18 people arrested at a deportation rally in Lower Manhattan. pic.twitter.com/9iGAc77vW9
— Spectrum News NY1 (@NY1) January 11, 2018
“Exclusive Video: NYPD Violently Arrests Protesters After ICE Detains Immigrant Leader Ravi Ragbir.”_Democracy Now!
Two more of our activist have been released this evening … Now what possibly could these two little old ladies have done to get arrested by the #NYPD? I’ll tell you what, #NUFFIN They were simply arrested because they were THERE, peacefully standing in support of #RaviRagbir pic.twitter.com/NUt9XVXMOq
— Dr. Ray Blanchette (@revelationplgrm) January 11, 2018
Someone just sent me this compilation of this NYPD officer choking people at yesterday's protest over the arrest of immigration activist Ravi Ragbir. pic.twitter.com/yqyUhEiewE
— Keegan Stephan (@KeeganNYC) January 12, 2018
— Winifred (@WaywardWinifred) January 11, 2018
— Scott Heins (@scottheins) January 11, 2018
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, what are you going to do about it? Erica Garner died without justice. Are you going to keep protecting NYPD officers?
— Sarah Aida Gonzalez (@GonzalezSarahA) January 11, 2018
"They handcuffed my husband in front of me. They handcuffed him to go into the ambulance," Amy Gottlieb said, describing how her husband Ravi Ragbir was detained Thursday during a routine check-in with @ICEgov pic.twitter.com/YmcOwl4BXr
— Spectrum News NY1 (@NY1) January 13, 2018
UPDATED JANUARY 12, 2018.
On January 11, 2018, Ravi Ragbir, a nationally recognized immigrant rights leader and Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, was detained while reporting to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for a routine check-in.
Upon his detention, Mr. Ragbir’s attorneys filed a lawsuit challenging ICE’s actions in federal court in downtown Manhattan (Ragbir v. Sessions, No. 18-cv-00236, S.D.N.Y.). A copy of the lawsuit is available here. The federal court has ordered a hearing on January 29, 2018, to consider whether the actions of ICE are lawful, and issued both a temporary stay of removal and a temporary order preventing Mr. Ragbir’s transfer away from his family and counsel in the New York region pending consideration of the case. However, ICE’s detainee locator system currently lists Mr. Ragbir as being detained at Krome Detention Facility in Florida. Mr. Ragbir’s family and community supporters continue to demand Mr. Ragbir’s immediate release, and Mr. Ragbir’s lawyers are working to ensure his return to the New York region and his family.
UPDATE: Because Mr. Ragbir remains in Florida, Mr. Ragbir’s lawyers filed a motion to enforce the court’s temporary order preventing transfer from the New York region. The government filed a motion to vacate both the temporary stay and the temporary order regarding the transfer. A hearing on these motions will be held on January 16, 2018.
Mr. Ragbir, who received lawful permanent residency in the U.S. in 1994, faces deportation based on a single conviction for wire fraud that he received in 2001. Based on this single conviction, he was detained by ICE for deportation proceedings in 2006-2008, but was released in light of his pending legal challenges and his lack of dangerousness to the community. Since that time, Mr. Ragbir has devoted himself to the immigrant rights movement. As Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, Mr. Ragbir has worked tirelessly with faith communities every day to create safe communities for all residents regardless of immigration status.
Since his release from his initial immigration detention in 2008, Mr. Ragbir has complied with all legal requirements and has diligently challenged both his conviction and his deportation order in legal proceedings. Contrary to a reported statement by ICE, Mr. Ragbir has pending legal cases that have the potential to prevent his deportation. These legal cases include a federal petition for a writ of coram nobis, to vacate his criminal conviction and/or sentence, pending with a federal court in New Jersey (Ragbir v. United States, No.17-CV-01256, D.N.J.), as well as a motion to reopen his proceedings pending with the Board of Immigration Appeals based on newly available evidence and constitutional concerns. Both of these legal cases still await adjudication.
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