A rally held in New York brought hundreds of people together to support an immigration activist from Trinidad and Tobago who is fighting deportation.
Ravi Ragbir, a fifty-three-year-old man, was facing removal on Saturday, February 10, but a judge in Newark ruled the day prior that Ragbir could remain in the United States while a lawsuit that had been filed on his behalf was being argued.
On Saturday, February 10, Ragbir was still required to check in with immigration officials at the lower Manhattan federal office. This is where the rally formed.
The rally was put on by the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City which includes 150 faith-based, pro-immigration groups. Ragbir headed a march, calling out the racist immigration policies in the United States.
“Am I a national security problem?” he asked. “We know that there is a movement,” Ragbir furthered, “to remove people of color, to learn that there is an ethnic cleansing being created by this administration. And it’s very hard words, but let’s be real about what we are seeing.”
After being detained in January during a check-in with ICE, a federal judge released Ragbir and expressed “grave concerns” about his treatment.
Ragbir was detained due to a 2001 conviction for a mortgage fraud scheme. He is working to vacate the conviction in New Jersey federal court, arguing that he was simply an employee and was unaware of the fraudulent activity.
According to ICE officials, Ragbir’s politics have nothing to do with his deportation and it is based on his criminal record.
A rally attendee, Debbie Mullins, was “pleasantly surprised” that Ragbir was allowed a temporary stay. The sixty-four-year-old woman said, “traditionally America has been a country that welcomed people that were poor and oppressed…You just have to read what’s written on the Statue of Liberty.”
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