New York, NY – The Immigrants rights group fighting the sudden deportation of two of its leaders is calling for a meeting with Mayor Bill de Blasio to clarify the
City of New York’s status as a so-called “sanctuary city” opposed to the Trump administration’s wholesale attack on immigration.
“I would like to call for a meeting with the mayor and activists working on immigration issues because we feel very uneasy,” Sara Gozalo, of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York told LaborPress on Thursday. “It didn’t seem clear to me that the NYPD is not working with the Department of Homeland Security – from what I saw last Thursday, from what I see now, from what I heard about the NYPD escorting Ravi all the way to the airport.”
Last Thursday, 18 people — including New York City Council Members Jumaane Williams [D-45th District] and Ydanis Rodriguez (D-10th District) were arrested challenging the deportations of New Sanctuary Coalition Executive Director Ravi Ragbir and organization co-founder Jean Montrevil.
Earlier this week, the Mayor’s Office denied that the City of New York is being complicit with the Trump administration’s expanding campaign to eject emigres on flimsy, or even non existent infractions.
“New York City is open and welcoming to immigrants, and will not participate in the Trump Administration’s agenda to rip people from their homes and families simply because they are immigrants,” a mayoral spokesperson told LaborPress in an email. “City services are available to all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status, including access to education, healthcare, IDNYC, law enforcement, and anti-discrimination protections.”
As of this writing, it is unclear where Ragbir is being held. The Trinidadian emigre who has risen to become a prominent immigrants rights advocate in the many
years he’s resided in the United States, was being held at a Florida detention center following his arrest during a scheduled check-in at ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] offices in Manhattan last week.
Supporters believe that federal authorities are in the processes of transporting Ragbir back to holding facilities in the Metro-New York area.
Montrevil, however, has been deported all the way back to his native Haiti — a country he hasn’t been in since 1986, according to supporters.
Both Ragbir and Montrevil are beloved members of the immigrants rights community here in New York City, and supporters maintain their arrests are prime examples of how the federal government is targeting immigrants rights leaders.
“Something is happening with ICE, with DHS [Department of Homeland Security], where they want to cut off the limbs of these immigrant-led organizations to get rid of the leaders,” the Judson Memorial Church’s Reverend Micah Bucey told LaborPress following his own arrest challenging the detentions of Ragbir and Montrevil.
Rev. Bucey was one of more than 100 other immigrants rights supporters who conducted a “Jericho Walk” around the Federal Building in Foley Square this past Thursday afternoon. The “Jericho Walk” is the same procession that Ragbir, himself, had led many times in the past challenging the rash of hasty deportations
occurring under the Trump Administration.
Members of the New Sanctuary Coalition say they are determined to keep up the fight for immigrant rights.
“I am fearful for all immigrants rights leaders all over the country,” Gozalo added. “I believe this is a targeted effort to silence the movement. What we need more
than ever – not just our immigrant community that is already heavily involved – but our US citizens to step up and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with immigrants and denounce the tactic, and help us build a more powerful, stronger movement.”
Editor’s Note: LaborPress has reached out to the Mayor’s Office for a response to this story, but has not yet gotten a reply.