Indian-origin immigrant activist detained sparks protest

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Nationally recognized immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir was detained today, while reporting to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a routine check-in. As of 12:40 p.m. EST, there had been 18 arrests at the rally the New York Police Department told International Business Times.

Williams said he and some of his City Council colleagues had joined New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera and State Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, along with Ragbir's supporters and a group of activists in protesting, as the ambulance left the building.

"Ravi Ragbir means everything to this city", New Sanctuary Coalition Co-Chair Rev. Kaji Dousa told Democracy Now! on Thursday.

Ragbir's arrest followed that of Jean Montrevil, an immigrant activist from Haiti who was taken into custody last week near his Far Rockaway, New York, home, and just one day after The Associated Press reported a wave of ICE raids at convenience stores across the country.

Ravi Ragbir, an immigrant rights activist of Indian descent, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities in NY on January 11.

Ministers and supporters regularly went to check-ins with Ragbir.

In 2006, Ragbir was ordered by an immigration judge to be detained and deported, stemming from a 2001 conviction of wire fraud - an aggravated felony. Previously, ICE officials had granted Ragbir prosecutorial discretion, including a stay of removal that was in effect until next week. 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.

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Activists are encouraging others to call the ICE offices and NY senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to demand Ragbir's release.

In each review, the courts have uniformly held that Ragbir does not have a legal basis to remain in the US, ICE said.

The statement adds that Ragbir is a long-time permanent resident of the United States, community activist, father, and husband. He has since exhausted his petitions and appeals through the immigration courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. District Court.

In a video of the rally posted to Twitter by Buzzfeed News, Williams was seen being held face-down on the hood of a auto by a police officer while saying, "Freedom".

"We are definitely going to investigate what happened with our police officers because I am concerned to know exactly what happened, why it happened and if anything happened that was not appropriate in the handling of the protesters, that needs to be acted on", de Blasio said on his weekly appearance on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show.

He said he believed the sudden nature of Ragbir's detention was part of the problem.

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