January 11, 2017: Hundreds of protesters attempt to stop ICE from detaining immigrants rights leader Ravi Ragbir in New York City
Ravi Ragbir is the executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition. For years, he has been a courageous leader in the battle for immigrants to live with dignity and security in this country. He has been in this country for 27 years. On Thursday, January 11, he reported for what was supposed to be a routine checkin with ICE in Manhattan.
Given the emergency crisis for immigrants and the battle to defend them in Trump and Pence’s America, hundreds of his supporters mobilized outside the ICE office in case the authorities tried to detain him. Many of them were from churches and synagogues aligned with the New Sanctuary Coalition. They circled the wearing sanctuary buttons and holding signs reading “No borders, no walls” and “No one is illegal.”
Inside ICE headquarters, Ravi Ragbir was handcuffed and held by ICE agents, and reportedly fainted. ICE attempted to transport him to detention in an ambulance. Supporters courageously sat down in front of the ambulance to block it. And, in a Sanctuary City – New York City – those protesters were viciously and violently attacked by the NYPD. Eighteen were arrested.
Carl Dix, an initiator of Refuse Fascism and a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, who was on the scene. He said, “This is a concentration of what they’re doing to immigrants. Ravi’s had to check in regularly for more than a decade. Over the last year, it has become a thing of where checking in could mean you’re swept up and out of the country. And he has been a very prominent activist around immigrant rights. The New Sanctuary Coalition has taken up defending him, they’ve developed a Stand with Ravi campaign. And they mobilized for this check-in that he had to do. They even had a flyer prepared in the event he got snatched up—announcing that and calling on people to act.
“ICE tried to get Ravi out of the area in an ambulance. There might have been medical issues, or this might have been a way to slip him past his supporters. People tried to block the ambulance, and police vamped on them. A minister, Juan Carlos Luis, was beaten down. City councilman Jumanee Williams was brutalized. City council person Ydanis Rodriguez was also arrested.”
The detention of Ravi Ragbir came amidst a storm of extremely ominous including ICE raids on 7-11 stores, and Trump calling black and brown immigrants unwanted people from “shithole” countries.
Ravi Ragbir’s arrest came one week after ICE detained another prominent immigrant rights leader, New Sanctuary Coalition co-founder Jean Montrevil. On January 3, four ICE vans picked up Jean Montrevil outside his home in Far Rockaway, then took him to Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark. He faces deportation to Haiti.
Ragbir’s attorneys filed a lawsuit challenging ICE’s actions in federal court, and a hearing is now scheduled for January 29. The federal court issued a temporary stay of removal and a temporary order preventing Ragbir’s transfer away from the New York region. But according to news reports, ICE is saying Ravi Ragbir as being detained at Krome Detention Center in Florida.
Release Ravi Ragbir and Jean Montrevil NOW! Drive OUT the fascist Trump/Pence Regime!