NYC Councilmembers Demand Answers As U.S. Moves To deport Human Rights Activist Ragbir


Williams, Ragbir and Rodriguez

(Photo Credit: John McCarten)

As immigration rights activist Ravi Ragbir faces deportation after being released to his family pending a future hearing, several New York City Council Members including Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), Ydanis Rodriguez, and Co-Chairs of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus Ritchie Torres and Robert Cornegy are formally demanding –in a letter– answers from the Administration and NYPD regarding the arrests on the day Ragbir was detained.

At an impromptu nonviolent protest following news of Ravi’s detention, Council Members Rodriguez and Williams were arrested alongside 16 other protesters and taken into custody for eight hours. The letter addresses the circumstances of these arrests, asking for details on what the NYPD officers were told when arriving on the scene about the protest and Ravi’s status.  The arrests have raised questions in the public regarding possible police misconduct and clarifications on New York City’s status as a sanctuary city.

The letter, which is available here and which was sent to Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill, last week, “formally and strongly request answers” to the following questions:

What instructions were given to the New York Police Department in general, and to the NYPD Strategic Response Group in particular, on January 11, 2018 when they were called in to assist at the protest?

What instructions are given to SRG in general in these instances?

Are they told the nature of the protests for which they were called in to assist?

Did the NYPD or any other agency assist ICE and or any agency of the Federal Government in any way with deporting Ravi Ragbir?

Were the NYPD present at Bellevue Hospital when Ravi Ragbir was being examined? If so, what function were they performing?

Did the NYPD assist in ICE transporting Ravi Ragbir to the Holland Tunnel and into New Jersey? If so, what function did they perform in the assistance?

Were the NYPD in general and SRG in particular aware that when the ambulance transporting Ravi Ragbir exited the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building, and for some time thereafter, no emergency lights or sirens were activated?

The Council Members hope for a swift response, especially given the urgency of the situation and the dire immediacy of Ravi’s case before federal officials and potentially imminent deportation. The detention of Mr. Ragbir, who has since been released to his family pending a future hearing, appeared to be part of a larger crackdown by ICE and the Department of Homeland Security on immigration and immigrants living in the United States.


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