Indian-Origin Immigrant Rights Activist Faces Deportation Following Arrest in U.S.

Ravi Ragbir faces deportation to Trinidad from where he emigrated to the United States.


Ravi Ragbir, an immigrant rights activist of Indian descent, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities in New York on Jan. 11. Ragbir faces immediate deportation to Trinidad from where he emigrated to the United States.

Ragbir’s arrest prompted a protest at Foley Sqaure in New York, where 18 protesters were arrested during the rally, the New York Police Department said, according to the New York City Patch. City Councilmen Jumaane Williams and Ydanis Rodriguez were among those who were arrested during the protest.

“Ravi Ragbir was detained today by ICE during a regular check-in appointment. We need your help to secure his release & halt his deportation,” said a statement by New Sanctuary Movement. Ragbir, who is the executive director of New Sanctuary Coalition of New York, is a prominent immigration rights activist in the country.

The statement adds that Ragbir is a long-time permanent resident of the United States, community activist, father, and husband. He faces permanent exile from his life in the United States.

Ragbir came to America from Trinidad in February 1991 on a visitor’s visa and became a green card holder in 1994. He became a full-time organizer for the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, one of the largest coalitions in the city that focused on immigrant rights, in 2010.

“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 currently seeking to vacate, based on factual and legal errors in his trial,” the statement added.

It further said that deportation would destroy the couple’s dream of building a family together. “We have created a life together,” Amy Gottlieb, Ravi’s wife, said, “and the idea of living that life without my husband is devastating.”

Many Americans voiced their support for the immediate release of Ragbir. An online movement has also been initiated for his release.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley also issued a statement after ICE detained Ragbir. “Ravi is an acclaimed community leader, a loving father, and a steadfast immigrant rights activist. His detention is entirely unwarranted and reflects the Trump administration’s predatory behavior in New York City and across the country. Ravi must be released immediately,” he said.

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. “He has demonstrated the kind of character that we need more of. There is no doubt that he should be allowed to stay here with his family and community,” Schaper said.

Many took to the social media to lend their support to Ragbir:

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