A New York activist for immigrant rights whose struggle against deportation got the backing of Mayor Bill de Blasio received a temporary reprieve Friday from US officials.
Ravi Ragbir feared he could have been arrested on Saturday again for deportation to Trinidad and Tobago, his country of birth which he hasn’t seen in a quarter-century.
The reprieve came as Ragbir, backed by several activist groups, sued US immigration authorities for allegedly targeting those working to help immigrants.
They say such targeting violates free speech rights guaranteed under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
As a result of the lawsuit, immigration agents agreed to defer any new arrest of Ragbir, said the New York Immigration Coalition, a migrants’ defense group.
It is the latest court skirmish as the administration of President Donald Trump tries to clamp down on both illegal and legal migration.
“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,” said Ragbir, who is married to an American immigration lawyer and whose daughter is American.
“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.”
Scuffles erupted between his supporters and police after Ragbir, 53, was arrested on January 11 in the New York borough of Manhattan at his annual appointment with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
He was held on the basis of a wire fraud conspiracy conviction in 2001, for which he already served his sentence.
Trump’s administration has increasingly targeted those with any kind of criminal misdemeanor, in contrast to previous governments which prioritized deportation only of violent criminals.
In late January a judge ordered Ragbir’s release, though he still faced deportation.
Ragbir is executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, a coalition of more than 150 faith-based groups that advocate for immigrant rights.
Hundreds of people mobilized to support Ragbir, and de Blasio, a Democrat and critic of Trump’s immigration policies, wrote authorities this week to ask that Ragbir not be deported.
Trump’s China tariffs won’t even pay for the bailout to farmers hurt by his trade war
The revenues raised by President Trump’s tariffs on China are not even enough to cover the cost of bailing out farmers hit hardest by his trade war.
“We’ve taken in tens of billions of dollars in tariffs from China,” Trump told reporters Monday. He previously vowed that he would raise so much money from the tariffs that it would eliminate the entire national debt. But the New York Times reports that Customs and Border Protection data shows that the tariffs have raised about $20.8 billion in revenue. That is far less than the $28 billion in bailout funds that Trump vowed to give farmers after China imposed steep retaliatory tariffs targeting the agriculture industry. So far the administration has not offered any bailouts to other industries that have suffered sharp revenue losses in the ongoing trade war.
Don Lemon flabbergasted by brazen lying by Republican Kris Kobach: ‘He lied to your face’
CNN anchors Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo had a heart-to-heart conversation about racism in America during the handoff between their shows on Tuesday.
"What’s going on with you? I saw you in the makeup room. Your energy is off. You seem down. Is this getting to you, what happened today? With what the president tweeted and how people are reacting?" Lemon asked his colleague.
"Is it getting to me? It hits close to home, to be honest. My grandparents were afraid of people like Trump. Ironically, they grew up very close to one another," Cuomo answered, recounting his family's story of seeking acceptance in America. "It hits close to home."
Black man and realtor handcuffed for ‘forced entry’ into property’s open house: lawyers
On Tuesday, the Daily Mail reported that Anthony Edwards has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Cincinnati and three police officers after he and his real estate agent, Jerry Isham, were handcuffed and detained at gunpoint last year while touring an open house.
The police were summoned by Thomas Branigan, a retired police officer living next door, who called 911 to report them as home invaders and said they had "forced entry" into the house. He later admitted he did not have a view of the door at the time.