NYC Council Members Jumaane Williams & Ydanis Rodríguez Arrested During Immigration Protest

Image via Sojourners

According to Buzzfeed, who reported from the scene of the protest, Ragbir was detained during a routine check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and told he would be deported. 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.

The detainment of immigration activist Ravi Ragbir (c.) sparked a protest that led to clashes with cops and two City Council members getting arrested.

. Council Speaker Corey Johnson participated in the protest but was not arrested. Hundreds are gathered outside the federal immigration building at 26 Federal Plaza in downtown New York City to show solidarity with all those affected by the deportation machine, including Ragbir, when ICE detained him.

Ragbir was attending his required annual ICE check-in when federal agents made the arrest.

"A 15-year green card holder, Ravi was detained and ordered deported in 2006 by an immigration judge - without a hearing - based on a conviction for fraud, which he is now seeking to vacate, based on factual and legal errors in his trial", the statement added. "The fact that ICE has taken him as if his spirit, family ties and contributions to the community mean nothing is inhumane". He was placed into removal proceedings in 2006 and spent 22 months in immigration detention before being released in February 2008.

SAALT and other organizations have started a massive campaign to get Ragbir released from ICE detention, asking community members to call the offices of Sens.


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 statement continues, "the courts have uniformly held that Mr. Ragbir does not have a legal basis to remain in the U.S. In an exercise of discretion, the agency had previously allowed him to remain free from custody with periodic check-ins, while his case was under court review". He has since exhausted his petitions and appeals through the immigration courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. District Court.

The statement adds that Ragbir is a long-time permanent resident of the United States, community activist, father, and husband.

Among those arrested were Councilman Jumaane Williams, who was seen being bent over the hood of a auto 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.

An ICE spokesperson said that Ragbir's case has been under extensive investigation by the nation's judicial system in both the courts of immigration and appeals, for years.

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