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.
Doctor fighting fraud charge cites Donald Trump in his defense of doling out COVID-19 drug
As President Donald Trump promoted the drug hydroxychloroquine, one California doctor took his recommendations to the bank.
According to the San Diego Tribune, Dr. Jennings Staley is being charged in what appears to be the first case involving the drug. The FBI is charing Staley with mail fraud as part of an effort hailing hydroxychloroquine as a "miracle cure" and the "magic bullet" to an undercover agent posing as a patient, court documents say.
The few police willing to join in solidarity with protesters
Reports of the protests across the country are focusing on the violence, clashes and property damage caused by a small few rather than the peaceful protest of those rallying against injustice and the police standing in solidarity with them.
A few captured positive moments of cities where officers support the protests and believe Black lives do actually matter.
There were moments of protesters fist-bumping police, hugs with police, and in one incident in New York City over the weekend, one officer was separated from his unit. Protesters surrounded him with locked arms to protect him from those being violent. In Miami, Florida and Seattle, Washington, police joined protesters in kneeling.
Trump shows all the signs of being ‘rattled’ now that the White House is under siege from protesters: columnist
In a column for the Atlantic, longtime political observer Peter Nicholas stated that Donald Trump is showing all the signs of a scared man as massive protests have broken out across the country over the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four former Minneapolis cops -- and angry Americans are taking their case all the way up to the White House gates.
As Nicholas wrote, "Presidents live within a protective cocoon built and continually fortified for one purpose: keeping them alive. But inside the White House compound these days, Donald Trump seems rattled by what’s transpiring outside the windows of his historic residence."