ICE detains immigrant rights leader, sparking massive protest

Immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir was detained at a routine check-in meeting with ICE officials in Manhattan Thursday, flipping a peaceful vigil outside the Federal Building into a massive protest rally with arrests of at least two city councilmembers.

Community leaders and supporters first gathered before Ragbir’s check-in to march around the building but as news spread that Ragbir had been detained for possible deportation urgent calls for support lit up social media and the crowd swelled.

City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez was arrested and taken away in a police vehicle.

City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez was arrested and taken away in a police vehicle.

(Alec Tabak/for New York Daily News)

City leaders including Councilman Brad Lander later announced Ragbir had passed out in detention. Protesters clashed with police and rushed toward a departing ambulance.

City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez was arrested and taken away in a police vehicle, witnesses said.

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Protests erupt after immigrant rights leader detained by ICE

Councilman Jumaane Williams was placed in handcuffs on the ground with other protesters.

“Freedom. Resist,” Williams told the Daily News as the police jostled with protesters and several hundred people filled the street all the way to Broadway.

City Councilman Jumaane Williams was placed in handcuffs on the ground with other protesters.

City Councilman Jumaane Williams was placed in handcuffs on the ground with other protesters.

(Alec Tabak/for New York Daily News)

“Shame! Shame!” the protesters chanted.

Ragbir is the executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City. He is undocumented with U.S. citizen family members.

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“Ravi Ragbir means everything to this city. 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 New York a welcoming community for all of its residents,” New Sanctuary Coalition Co-Chair Rev. Kaji Dousa, Senior Pastor of Park Avenue Christian Church, said in a statement.

“The fact that ICE has taken him as if his spirit, family ties, and contributions to the community mean nothing is inhumane.”

Ragbir has lived with the threat of deportation for nearly a decade due to a 16-year old conviction for wire fraud, his supporters said.

He was placed into removal proceedings in 2006 and spent 22 months in immigration detention before being released in February 2008, they said.

Immigration activist Ravi Ragbir was detained during a routine check-in meeting with ICE officials in Manhattan.

Immigration activist Ravi Ragbir was detained during a routine check-in meeting with ICE officials in Manhattan.

(Carlo Allegri/REUTERS)

Tags:
immigration
protests
brad lander
ydanis rodriguez
jumaane williams
new york city council

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