NYC councilmen arrested at rally for immigrant rights activist detained by ICE

Two city councilmen were among more than a dozen people arrested at a Thursday rally for an immigration rights activist

Jumaane Williams arrested during immigration protest PIX 11 News

This video shows NYPD shoving aside City Council Speaker Corey Johnson just minutes after Johnson came out from accompanying Ragbir to his check-in, and documents officers telling council member Ydanis Rodriguez to "stop resisting" arrest as he sat down on Broadway in front of the ambulance, and appeared to be cooperating with orders. "Now, more than ever, it is important to show solidarity in the face of policies that threaten our communities".

Ragbir entered the United States on a visitor's visa in February 1991 and went on to acquire a green card, but in 2001 was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud while working for a mortgage lender. However, he was detained by ICE during one of his regularly scheduled check-ins. "Today, after more than two decades of living in this country, he was detained by ICE and removed in an ambulance", said Williams in a tweet confirming his arrest.

At the time this report was published, ICE had not responded to VOA's request for comment regarding Ragbir's arrest. 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.

"Ravi Ragbir means everything to this city", New Sanctuary Coalition Co-Chair Rev. Kaji Dousa told Democracy Now! on Thursday. "A longtime New Yorker, a husband and a father, Ravi is beloved by all of us who have had the privilege of working with him to make NY a welcoming community for all of its residents".

Advocates say Ragbir's strong community ties and history of complying with ICE check-ins should be taken into account by ICE. Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams - were handcuffed and taken into custody, along with 16 others. He spent 22 months in immigration detention.

But an ICE spokeswoman told the Daily News that Ragbir had "exhausted" his legal options.

Trivedi told India-West that after Ragbir was released from immigration detention in 2008, he was inspired by his experiences while incarcerated to speak out on prison reform and immigrant rights.

Previously, those community members said, ICE officials had granted Ragbir "prosecutorial discretion, including a stay of removal that was in effect until next week".

A crowd of almost 300 people amassed outside the federal building as Ragbir showed up to his check-in with officials, according to several reports. "He will remain in custody pending removal to Trinidad".

He is married to Amy Gottlieb, a US citizen and fellow immigration activist, but has been unable to regularize his immigration status through marriage because of his prior conviction.

Officers are seen grabbing Williams, handcuffing him and slamming him onto the front of a auto. "Freedom, resist. We are going to resist". Mayor Bill de Blasio's spokesman said the mayor has been briefed on the protest, adding, "the area is covered extensively by cameras and we'll be reviewing the footage to get to the bottom of what happened".

Ragbir's detention comes just days after ICE detained Jean Montrevil, another leader and founding member of the New Sanctuary Coalition.

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