Hundreds rally in NYC against deportation of activist


Associated Press

NEW YORK

Hundreds of people rallied Saturday in support of an immigration activist from Trinidad and Tobago who’s fighting deportation, accusing authorities of targeting him for speaking out.

Ravi Ragbir was facing removal from the United States on Saturday. But a judge in Newark ruled Friday that he could stay in the country while a lawsuit filed on his behalf is argued.

Ragbir, 53, still had to check in Saturday with immigration officials at a federal office in lower Manhattan. It is where the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, a coalition of 150 faith-based, pro-immigrant groups, staged the rally.

Beforehand, Ragbir led demonstrators on a march and told them he believes the country’s immigration policies are racist.

“Am I a national security problem?” Ragbur said. “Am I colluding with Russia? ... We know that there is a movement to remove people of color, to learn that there is an ethnic cleansing being created by this administration. And it’s very hard words, but let’s be real about what we are seeing.”

Ragbir was detained last month during a check-in with ICE over a 2001 conviction for a mortgage fraud scheme. He was released last week by a federal judge who expressed “grave concerns” about his treatment.

The government had said he should be deported because of the conviction involving a New Jersey mortgage company where Ragbir worked that was caught up in the fraud. He’s fighting to vacate the conviction in federal court in New Jersey, contending he was just an employee doing his job, unaware of any fraudulent activity.

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