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ICE can’t deport Ravi Ragbir, immigration rights leader, as legal battle continues

Ragbir and multiple immigrant groups sued the federal government over his detainment.

Immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir was granted a

Immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir was granted a stay of deportation on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, a court order said. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Ravi Ragbir, the immigrant rights leader whose detainment sparked several protests last month, will be able to stay in the United States for the time being, a court order says.

Ragbir, the executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, and several organizations supporting him filed a lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, alleging that he was targeted because of his activism. He was granted a stay of deportation to allow for the briefing and consideration of the suit.

“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,” Ragbir said in a statement.

Ragbir was detained on Jan. 11 when he showed up for a check-in with ICE. A judge ordered his release on Jan. 29, ruling that his detention was “unnecessarily cruel.”

Once released, he was ordered to report to ICE for deportation on Saturday, Feb. 10. But on Friday, his legal defense team said he was no longer required by ICE to check in at 26 Federal Plaza.

A rally scheduled for Saturday at 9 a.m. in nearby Foley Square took place as planned.

Ragbir and the other plaintiffs on the lawsuit will have until Monday to file additional paperwork, according to the court order. The defendants will have until March 1 to file a response and the plaintiffs must file a reply by March 14.

ICE denied that it targets immigrants based on advocacy in a statement after Ragbir’s release.

“ICE does not target unlawfully present aliens for arrest based on advocacy positions they hold or in retaliation for critical comments they make,” the statement said. “Any suggestion to the contrary is irresponsible, speculative and inaccurate.”

Ragbir was issued a green card in 1994 after coming to the United States from Trinidad in 1991, but he was convicted of wire fraud in 2001 and served 30 months in federal prison. He was then detained in 2006 after a judge ordered deportation because of his conviction. But he was released in 2008 when ICE determined he wasn’t a danger to the community, according to his defense team. A challenge to that conviction also is pending in federal court, his lawyer said.


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