Hundreds Come Out to Support Sanctuary Movement Leader Ravi Ragbir

February 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


Hundreds came together to protest outside the U.S. Customs and Immigration office in Lower Manhattan Saturday, February 10, expressing their support and solidarity with prominent immigrant activist and leader Ravi Ragbir, and celebrating the last-minute stay of his deportation order.

Speakers included Ragbir and Amy Gottlieb, his wife, as well several public officials, including two U.S. congresspeople. Among the signs that protesters carried included: “Black & Brown Skin is the new [Jewish Star]—Mass Deportation is Nazi-esque Racial Profiling;” and “Shut Down White Supremacy.” Many in the crowd marched with the Refuse Fascism poster: “NO! Ravi Ragbir & All Immigrants Must STAY! Trump/Pence Regime Must GO!” And there were many with hand written signs pinned on their packs; #YouCan’tDeportAMovement.

Ravi Ragbir is executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, an interfaith network of congregations and organizations that publicly stands with families and communities resisting detention and deportation. His arrest by federal agents during a routine check-in January 11 sparked immediate outrage, protest, and arrests, with police brutalizing demonstrators and a New York City Councilperson. Since then, there has been growing protest and the demand that the political attacks against Ragbir and other immigrant rights activists stop.

The stay of the deportation order came Friday, after lawyers representing Ravi filed a federal First Amendment lawsuit that accuses the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department of “targeting outspoken immigrant-rights activists who publicly criticize U.S. immigration law, policy, and enforcement.” (Read more here about the lawsuit.)

A protester who has been working with Ravi as a volunteer said, “I see the escalating attacks on the undocumented, and it’s horrifying. Trying to make people afraid, and unwelcome. It’s dehumanizing, and unnecessarily cruel.” Juan Carlos Ruiz, a cofounder locally and on a national level of the New Sanctuary Movement, told “We do feel there’s a shift, given the intensity of the attacks, and the escalation by the government against the visible voices in our movement ... unleashing this repressive, consorted, systematic targeting of the people in our movement who are in front.”


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