Amid Deportation Protests, ICE Detains Immigrant-rights Leader in NYC

NYC Council Members, Protestors Shoved by NYPD Officers at Immigrant Activist Rally

"Ravi is an acclaimed community leader, a loving father, and a steadfast immigrant rights activist". January 12, 2018: Two Caribbean-roots, New York City lawmakers were arrested by New York City police officers Thursday as they protested the detention of a Trinidad-born immigrant.

Ydanis Rodríguez (D-Manhattan) and Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn), who both hold council seats, were arrested in Foley Square while protesting the arrest of Ravi Ragbir, an immigrant rights activist. 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.

Later on Thursday, at a City Hall news conference, Mr. Johnson, who was elected as speaker on January 3, said the protest had been peaceful and that it "turned needlessly violent at the hands of ICE agents, and there were some members of the N.Y.P.D. who were involved as well".

Many people were taken away by law enforcement (Thursday during the protest after during a routine check-in meeting, immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials). When Ragbir had to show up for a check-in with ICE in March, hundreds of supporters showed up with him in support. Ragbir faces immediate deportation to Trinidad from where he emigrated to the United States.

Ragbir entered the U.S. more than 25 years ago legally but a 2001 wire fraud conviction made his green card subject to review. He's been called a "fixture in the immigrants' rights movement" and was awarded the 2017 Immigrant Excellence Award by the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators for his efforts to help the immigrant community. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, both of NY. He was placed into removal proceedings in 2006 and then spent 22 months in immigration detention before being released in February 2008.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley also issued a statement after ICE detained Ragbir. "He will remain in custody pending removal to Trinidad". He has since exhausted his petitions and appeals through the immigration courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. District Court.

Eric Phillips, Mayor Bill de Blasio's spokesman, said in a statement that the mayor was briefed on the protest and police activity.

Among those arrested were Councilman Jumaane Williams, who was seen being bent over the hood of a vehicle and grimacing in pain as he was handcuffed in video shot by Buzzfeed, and whose suit jacket was torn in the encounter; and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, whose account tweeted a photograph of an officer in front of him with both arms around Ydanis' neck, while the councilman's hands were pulled behind him by another officer.

"The area is covered extensively by cameras", Phillips tweeted, "and we'll be reviewing the footage to get to the bottom of what happened".

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