New York, NY – The de Blasio administration is bristling over critics who charge the City of New York can no longer be considered a “Sanctuary City” following
last week’s violent arrests of 18 immigration activists outside the Javits Federal Building in Manhattan challenging the shocking deportation of leading immigrants’ rights advocates.
Both Council Members Jumaane Williams [D-45th District] and Ydanis Rodriguez [D-10th District] were among those who were hauled off by police after demonstrators got in the way of an ambulance allegedly containing New Sanctuary Coalition of New York Executive Director Ravi Ragbir last Thursday.
ICE agents previously scooped up New Sanctuary Coalition Co-Founder Jean Montrevil before grabbing Ragbir during a routine immigration check-in.
This week, Council Members Williams and Rodriguez were expected to hold a special forum at the Holyrood Episcopal Church, located at 715 179th Street, on Wednesday night to further address their arrests in defense of the immigrants’ rights leaders.
Despite last Thursday’s events, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office, this week, told LaborPress that the City of New York is not kowtowing to the Trump administration’s zealous drive to eject millions of hardworking immigrants from the country.
“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,” the mayoral spokesperson said 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.”
Immigrants’ rights activists insist that their leaders are being systematically targeted because of their outspoken and highly effective advocacy. Participants in last week’s vigil turned melee outside the Javits center, involved members of the NYPD, as well as ICE.
The NYPD is not supposed to operate as an arm of immigration enforcement, and the city’s own laws and policies are allegedly meant to limit the circumstances in which city agencies cooperate with ICE on immigration enforcement. Those who the city will work with ICE on immigration enforcement include individuals in municipal custody who have been convicted of a serious or violent crime, deemed to represent a public safety risk, and have ICE warrants out for them.
Last Thursday’s mass arrests were sparked after Ragbir’s supporters got in the way of an ambulance allegedly transporting Ragbir and his wife Amy Gottlieb.
Ragbir was ultimately taken to a federal detention center in Florida. But supporters say that he is expected to be returned to New York City shortly. Montrevil, meanwhile, has reportedly already been deported to Haiti.
At a special forum held inside the Judson Memorial Church on Martin Luther King, Jr. this past Monday, Council Member Williams took issue with those critical of Ragbir’s supporters.
“Those who questioned us: If you come out of a building with no lights and no sirens, you are a van with passengers,” the Brooklyn lawmaker said. “If you are questioning what we were doing there on MLK day, please shut your mouth.”