New York

NYC Councilmen Arrested at Protest for Immigration Activist

What to Know

  • Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams were both arrested during a protest for Ravi Ragbir on Thursday
  • Ragbir is an outspoken immigrants rights activist who protesters said was detained by immigration agents earlier in the morning
  • Hundreds of protesters were at the scene following an ambulance where they said Ragbir was being held

Two New York City councilmen were among the 18 people arrested at a demonstration for an immigrant rights leader detained by federal authorities.

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said in a tweet that he and fellow Democrat Jumaane Williams were cuffed Thursday during the protest after Ravi Ragbir was taken into custody by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Manhattan.

"Arrested with Councilman @JumaaneWilliams and more than 10 people for  fighting for Ravi and all undocumented brothers and sisters," Rodriguez said in a tweet.

Williams, in a Facebook post Thursday added " Today, after more than two decades of living in this country, he was detained by ICE and removed in an ambulance. I was arrested while protesting his detention, alongside Ydanis Rodriguez and several of Ravi's supporters. We need your voices to declare that #IStandWithRavi."

It's not clear what charges Rodriguez, Williams or the 16 protesters arrested faced. Images posted to Twitter during the demonstration showed the two councilmen and a handful of other protesters with plastic handcuffs at the scene. 

The New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, the organization that staged the protest, said hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the Jacob Javits Federal Building and followed an FDNY ambulance they said housed the Ragbir.

According to the group, Ragbir has lived under threat of deportation for more than a decade after a conviction for wire fraud 16 years ago and was in immigration detention for 22 months. When he was released, the New York resident became an outspoken activist for immigrants in the country. 

Ravi Ragbir means everything to this city," said Kaji Dousa, the organizations co-chair. "A longtime New Yorker, a husband and a father, Ravi is beloved by all of us who have had the privilege of working with him to make New York a welcoming community for all of its residents. The fact that ICE has taken him as if his spirit, family ties, and contributions to the community mean nothing is inhumane.”

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