Ravi Ragbir, the executive director of the immigrant rights group New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, has been granted temporary stay in the country, according to several news reports. According to the New York Post, Ragbir, an Indian American, was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after a routine check-in on Jan. 11 which sparked protests leading to nearly 20 arrests.
With just hours to go before his scheduled Saturday deportation, immigration rights leader Ravi Ragbir sued the federal government on First Amendment grounds and won a temporary stay of removal.
“Like so many people who are living in this country under the threat of deportation, I know how important it is to raise our voices against the injustices in the system,” Ragbir said in a statement. “This lawsuit is not just about me, it is about all of the members of our community who are speaking out in our struggle for immigrant rights,” the Brooklyn-based activist said.
In court paperwork dated Thursday, federal prosecutors agreed to postpone Ragbir’s deportation until a follow-up court ruling in the case that’s not expected until at least mid-March. According to amNewYork, a judge had ordered his release from detention on Jan. 29, ruling that it was “unnecessarily cruel.” However, he was ordered to report to ICE for deportation on Saturday, Feb. 10.
But on Friday, Feb. 9, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan agreed to grant Ragbir a temporary stay as many local and nationwide advocacy groups filed a First Amendment lawsuit accusing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other officials of targeting immigrant-activists for deportation, according to Patch.com.
ICE has denied such allegations stating: “ICE does not target unlawfully present aliens for arrest based on advocacy positions they hold or in retaliation for critical comments they make. Any suggestion to the contrary is irresponsible, speculative and inaccurate.” Now Ragbir will only appear for a check-in with ICE at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building in New York City on Saturday, according to several news reports.
“Justice was restored today, at least temporarily, as Mr. Ragbir is now able to remain in the United States and free until the Court reviews his constitutional claims,” Ragbir’s attorney R. Stanton Jones told the New York Post.
Ragbir had come to the United States from Trinidad in 1991 and obtained a green card in 1994. He was then convicted of wire fraud in 2001 and was detained in 2006 for nearly two years after a judge ordered deportation because of his conviction.
However, he was released as ICE determined that he wasn’t a danger to the community and he got married to Amy Gottileb in 2010 after which according to a Washington Post report, he received work authorization and four stays of removal.
According to Patch.com, Ragbir will also be appearing in a New Jersey federal court on Friday in an attempt to overturn his criminal conviction and see whether or not a judge there would also put a stay on his deportation. According to the court order, Ragbir and other plaintiffs on the lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other officials, will have until Monday to file any additional paperwork while the defendants will have until Mar. 1 to file a response to which the plaintiffs must file a reply by Mar. 14.