Home / News / Judge Says ICE Detention of Recently Released Immigration Activist Was ‘Unnecessarily Cruel’

Judge Says ICE Detention of Recently Released Immigration Activist Was ‘Unnecessarily Cruel’

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: On Monday, a sovereign judge in New York City systematic the clear recover of immigrant rights personality Ravi Ragbir from ICE detention, pursuit his detention, quote, “unnecessarily cruel.” But Ragbir’s distress is not over. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest wrote of the due routine at seductiveness in this case, quote, “The routine that was due here is not routine that will concede him to stay indefinitely—those processes have been had. The routine that is due here is the stipend that he know and know that the time has come, that he must classify his own affairs, and that he must do so by a date certain. That is what is due. That is the routine compulsory after a life vital among us.”

AMY GOODMAN: Ravi Ragbir is the executive executive of the New Sanctuary Coalition. He’s one of a handful of high-profile immigrant rights leaders who have been targeted by the Trump administration. Ravi was expelled last night, joining us in the New York studio of Democracy Now! Also with us, his wife Amy Gottlieb, also an immigrant rights attorney, and his own attorney, Alina Das, who co-directs the Immigrant Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law.

So, Alina Das, if you can pronounce about the stress of what has taken place? we mean, this was a overwhelming reprove of the Trump administration that Judge Forrest handed down yesterday. You came outward the courthouse. You know, we couldn’t even have phones in the courtroom, record anything, yet the judge’s decision was given out after she review it. And you talked about the stress of this case around the country, as Amy is about to get on a sight to be a guest at the State of the Union residence of President Trump—not invited by President Trump, but by Congressmember Nydia Velázquez.

ALINA DAS: Well, absolutely. We were so heartened to get the judge’s decision grouping clear release, and even some-more so the basement of the decision, noticing the cruelty of detention. And at the finish of the day, we consider that’s the element that will mount for all of these other cases that we’re seeing, given what she famous is that when you catch someone who isn’t a moody risk or a danger, it becomes arbitrary.

And that’s what happened here. ICE has never claimed that Ravi is a risk to the community. On the contrary, they’ve, in the past, famous his contributions. Yet, the only reason that the profession was means to yield at the conference yesterday for given they did this was that it was in their operational decision-making process. And when you hear difference like that, which are empty, it just shows how distant we’ve come that apprehension has turn so normalized, that we consider it’s ideally excellent to close someone up, put them in shackles, take them to a jail, divided from their families, just in sequence to make what radically is a polite executive order.


Now, we do intend to plea that order, and we have other authorised cases that are tentative for Ravi. So, the idea is to keep him here. But recognizing, as the probity did, that apprehension itself was vicious and inhumane, we think, will be useful to many other people who face this scenario.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Amy, in terms of the—the fight is going to continue, clearly, given the judge did commend that ICE had the authorised right to expatriate your husband, but it was a doubt of the way that they incarcerated him in the process. Now that you’re confronting a new date, what do you see, generally in the context where, as we’re seeing, both President Trump and the Democrats are inviting—Nydia Velázquez mouth-watering you—immigrant advocates and people who, according to Trump, have been victimized by crime of undocumented immigrants, are all going to be core theatre this dusk at the State of the Union—in this context, the stability battle over your husband’s ability to stay in the country?

AMY GOTTLIEB: Yeah, it’s terrifying. But, you know, to see the swell of support we have, it’s so rewarding, and it gives me strength, and it gives me hope. And, you know, we’ve been in this struggle—we’ve been married, you know, almost eight years. We have been together for a prolonged time. We have schooled to walk by this one day at a time. And right now it feels like we have a brief duration of time until the next stay of deportation expires. But we have—I have to hold on to my faith that the complement is going to work. It was—my faith was cracked when Ravi was in detention. It was—

AMY GOODMAN: You flew down to Florida. You went up to Orange County.

AMY GOTTLIEB: Yeah, 3 times to Orange County jail to see my husband in a splendid yellow jumpsuit for one hour, and spent a couple hundred dollars on phone calls, for us to be means to talk.

But yeah, so, you know, right now it feels like we’ve got this swell of village support. We have, you know, members of Congress who are looking out for us. We have the authorised group that we have. You know, and we feel so beholden for all of that. And I’m just going to have to keep doing it one day at a time and desiring in my—deep down in my heart and my essence that we are going to find a way by this. And it will not be easy, we comprehend that. But we know that, you know, we’re unusually lucky. And we pronounce all the time and consider all the time about people in this conditions who are not upheld by the lawyers that we have, by the village that we have, by people who are peaceful to distortion down and, you know, be arrested on the behalf. That’s an unusual conditions that we live, and we commend that. And we wish to see that for everybody. But it’s scary.

RAVI RAGBIR: So, you know, coming back to the judge’s decision about it’s a—we are under the guise that—the novella of that this law creates it right. So, that’s the problem with this law—law creates it right to do this, not only to myself. You know, it’s over me. It’s about the hundreds of thousands that are confronting this. When we was in Krome, you felt the despondency that people have, given they are shocked of what has happened. Everything is nude out from—stripped out from them. When we altered to Orange County—when they altered me—sorry, we didn’t move, they altered me to Orange County—it’s the same thing. People are not—are so destroyed. Their spirits are broken. And when you have hundreds of millions of people in this state, there’s something wrong. And that law, that she rightly targeted or pronounced that it is fiction, creates this all possible.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: What was the communication you had with some of the guards who were looking over you? Were they wakeful that you were an immigrant rights activist? And did they—did you have conversations with them about the conditions at all?

RAVI RAGBIR: Well, not only the guards, but the ICE officers themselves. So, one ICE officer came up to me and, when they were bringing me up, stuck his palm in his pocket and, soaring over me, “So, we listened you are an immigrant rights advocate, activist. What do you do?” And he started talking. And then he came, and he actually sat down next to me, put his foot on the chair and then started talking. In the end, we said, “You know, all that you have said, we would entice you to come and work for us,” given he was making his own arguments against what is happening and how this law itself is wrong. They commend that. But that’s their job. we have had—I’ve had these conversations with them via the process, going down to Krome, sitting down with them and conference them contend that what was happening to me was wrong. And they commend that.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask Alina Das about this ongoing case, and it’s one of the issues the judge lifted yesterday. She said—you have a probity case—what?—February 9th. So, why, she pronounced to the lawyers representing the Trump administration and ICE, is he going to be incarcerated until then? Separating apprehension from deportation—if he’s not a moody risk, if there’s not any risk to the community, given is he being held? Now, can you pronounce about this case? Ravi has been in this country for over a entertain of a century.

ALINA DAS: Well, absolutely. So, Ravi has faced many injustices in the authorised system. We have always confirmed that there have been elemental errors in the strange self-assurance that is heading to this deportation.

AMY GOODMAN: And explain what you meant by that strange conviction.

ALINA DAS: Sure. So, Ravi, like many individuals, is actually—came to the U.S. and had a official permanent residency. He has status. Yet, given of a rapist self-assurance that he perceived in 2001, he is confronting this double punishment of—

AMY GOODMAN: And this is for handle fraud.

ALINA DAS: This is for handle fraud. That was a rascal self-assurance that we trust was—involved several errors, in terms of the jury instructions, in terms of sentencing, that laws have come to light that have done it transparent that he was convicted for control that wasn’t actually criminal. And so, those are the hurdles that we’ve been posterior for a series of years, while all of this has been going on. Under before administrations, we had been told by ICE that they commend that, you know, he had a due routine seductiveness in seeing his day in probity on those claims. Nothing about that has changed. Those were all tentative before Jan 11th. Yet we walked in that day, and unexpected we got this decision to expatriate him. And we consider that’s the partial of this that is so disturbing, is that the only thing that has really changed in Ravi’s case given 2008 is the fact that his inflection as an immigrant rights romantic has only increasing and that it’s come into approach dispute with the stream administration.

And we determine with Ravi’s comments that it’s not about one man or the group of ICE. ICE issued a statement, we think, in response to the judge’s order, ostensible to advise that she was somehow insulting ICE officers. But the fact of the matter is, many of the ICE officers that we’ve oral to, even over the last couple of weeks, have voiced regard about the instruction that ICE is moving in. We commend the amiability of everybody who is operative or held up in this system, and we don’t trust that it’s just one person or one policy. It is a sheer change in the instruction this country is moving in, and we consider that’s given the work that Ravi does as an romantic is so important. So, we will continue to fight to make certain that he isn’t deported and that the injustices in both his self-assurance as good as his dismissal sequence are addressed by the courts of law.

AMY GOODMAN: I was wondering if you can explain the accompaniment routine that you have really refined, that seemed to enrage ICE officials. When we were there last Mar downtown, you had a Jericho walk around 26 Federal Plaza, where immigrants have to go inside, where you were checking in. This was last March. You have Congress—you have legislators. You have city councilmembers. And this is what so barbarous Mechkowski, when he talked about this as “D-Day” right now. Talk about accompaniment and what it means. How many people came up with you, for example, Jan 11th, when you went to your check-in?

RAVI RAGBIR: So, the accompaniment is simple. It’s partnering U.S. citizens, whom ICE has no office over, with noncitizens who are confronting a terrible process, as we talked about, confronting deportation and outcast from their family permanently. Right? That’s it, in its simplicity.

But there are manners that we—part of the training is about the manners that we engage, that we learn people. One is, don’t judge anyone. So, if people have rapist convictions, it doesn’t matter. New Sanctuary doesn’t trust that—no one should be deported, given this law itself is a fiction—sorry, racist. Two, that you should honour people. Number three, do no harm.

So, all that we have—how we have lerned people is that we don’t wish you to conflict to the officers and conflict to the policy, but respond and learn how that—teaching them that response has done them very effective, given they are not intimidated by the process. They are not intimidated by ICE officers. They are not intimidated, given they know they are coming at it from a very pacifist nonconfrontation. In fact, we say, you know you’re doing the accompaniment wrong is if you’re speaking. So, my idea in training them is to learn how to close up.

And that’s the whole visualisation of the accompaniment program. And it has turn very effective in the courts as much as in the accompaniment to check-ins. And they’ve been trying to bar us, bar the accompaniment, from the check-in on many, many occasions. And they still—we’re still going to—we’re formulation to change that and continue to accompany people.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Amy, at the State of the Union this evening, what are you anticipating to have occur there? And pronounce about the congresswoman, Nydia Velázquez, mouth-watering you, when you listened she wanted you to be there.

AMY GOTTLIEB: Oh, goodness. we was flattering dumbfounded to get the invitation. But we was impressed. It felt to me like a confidant pierce on her part. And I’ve given listened of others who’ve been invited by their members of Congress, others in identical situations. It was a confidant pierce to, you know, bring somebody with her as her guest who represents something that the Trump administration is fighting so hard. And that feels very affirming and certain and understanding to me.

You know, we consider that being down there, we’ll be doing some press. I, hopefully, will meet some other members of Congress and be means to pronounce about the issues, be means to pronounce about the impact of the 1996 immigration laws, which is what has caused Ravi to be in this conditions in the first place, and really, hopefully, get an ear of some people before the tangible address.

The residence itself, we will be doing some deep-breathing exercises and, you know, trying to listen, as best we can, and to come out of there feeling somehow at assent with myself.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And before Congress actually has to tackle legislation that—


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —the boss has been requesting, in the terms of the DREAMers and—


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —what he calls sequence migration.

AMY GOTTLIEB: Right. It will be severe for me to listen to his positions on immigration. we know that for sure.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, he’s going to be bringing, we believe, a family member from Long Island who lost someone given they were murdered by an undocumented immigrant. The others who are going to be coming, Cesar Espinosa, who is a DREAMer from Houston, Texas, will be among those who are plus-ones, who are guest of congressmembers; as well, Maru Mora Villalpando will be coming from Washington state—all invited as legislative guest for this evening.

The stress right now—do you feel that immigrant rights leaders are being targeted? we just came from Colorado, where we interviewed a mother, a Mexican mother, who had been in this country for good over two decades, named Sandra Lopez, mom of three. Her eldest child is in college, and she has two little ones. She is in retreat in the Unitarian parsonage in Carbondale, Colorado, right next to Aspen, aroused that she, too, could be deported. And we’re seeing this. There are 4 people in Colorado right now. Your organization, Ravi, just put out a report saying some-more people are in retreat in this country, holding retreat in churches, than we have ever seen. Alina?

ALINA DAS: Well, it’s hard—

AMY GOODMAN: Since the ’80s.

ALINA DAS: Yeah, it’s tough to omit the settlement that’s been rising over the last several weeks, when you demeanour at not only Ravi’s case, but the case of Jean Montrevil and others, who have been—

AMY GOODMAN: Who was just deported to Haiti.

ALINA DAS: Who was just deported to Haiti.

AMY GOODMAN: As President Trump done those “s—hole” comments about Haiti.

ALINA DAS: Exactly. And you see this kind of—this targeting of people who have been outspoken about the need for probity in the immigration system, people who have dependent themselves with the retreat movement. It’s tough to trust that there isn’t active targeting going on, given these are the same people who, for years, have been vital with us, who have mostly been intent in open communication with ICE to try and fix policies at a internal and inhabitant level, and now they start to be targeted, with no explanation, no kind of visualisation as to what has changed that done them targets, other than the fact that they have been effective in their work fighting against the Trump administration. And we consider that is something that should disquiet every American.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’ll continue to follow your case. Just one last discerning question, Ravi: How are you holding up? One date after another for check-in, you go to jail, you’re shackled, you’re released, you go back.

RAVI RAGBIR: I, as Amy said, just take it one day at a time. You just have to know—I have to put one foot in front of the other and just hold onto that romantic misunderstanding that is churning within me, and close it away. we had a—I had Dr. Allen Keller come up to revisit me on Sunday night. And I’m saying, you know, “You’re not going to find any trauma.” But at the finish of the meeting, it was clear that there was a lot sealed up.

What we did do when we was incarcerated is we satisfied that we could use this event to help others in detention, so we was joining them to the organizations, the lawyers, the—you know, given that’s where we’ve always wanted to be, and I’m in there.

AMY GOODMAN: I don’t consider they’re going to catch you anymore.

RAVI RAGBIR: That will be a challenge. we was actually anticipating they would pierce me around, so we could bond to some-more people.

AMY GOODMAN: And will you continue organizing until Feb 9th, when you have to show up again?

RAVI RAGBIR: Absolutely. There is no other choice. Until we change this law, we have to. Until we change the grounds of this hatred that is permeating the country, we have to continue to organize.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Ravi Ragbir, we wish to appreciate you for being with us, for coming here after being expelled just last night. Amy Gottlieb, for joining us, Ravi’s wife, immigrant rights attorney, will be attending the State of the Union residence tonight as a guest of Congressmember Velázquez. And Alina Das co-directs the Immigrant Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, in the last few days, two men, holding their kids to school, were taken by ICE. A third went into retreat in New Jersey as all of this was happening. We’re going to pronounce with his pastor. Stay with us.


AMY GOODMAN: Logic behaving the strain “1-800-273-8255” at the Grammys Sunday night. The phone series of the pretension is for the National Suicide Prevention hotline.

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