Links to today’s show transcripts:
“Letter from an Immigration Jail”: Hear the Words of Detained Immigrant Leader Ravi Ragbir
On Martin Luther King Day, in New York City, hundreds gathered to oppose the detention of local activist Ravi Ragbir, who was detained last week when he went to his check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. Ragbir is executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC, and he helped pioneer the accompaniment program for thousands of others who face similar check-ins. Ravi’s detention sparked a peaceful protest that was met with police violence. Police arrested 18 people, including members of the New York City Council. Ravi legally immigrated to the United States from Trinidad and Tobago more than 25 years ago, but a 2001 wire fraud conviction made his green card subject to review. Even though he is married to a U.S. citizen and has a U.S.-born daughter, the government refused to normalize his status. Just a week prior, Jean Montrevil, another leader with the New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC, was detained outside of his home. He was deported to Haiti on Tuesday. On Monday, hundreds circled Washington Square Park in a Jericho walk and then gathered at Judson Memorial Church to show support for Ravi and Jean. Rhiya Trivedi, a member of Ravi Ragbir’s defense committee, read a letter from Ravi.
New York City Councilmember Jumaane Williams: Civil Disobedience Is Needed to Protect Immigrants
New York City Councilmember Jumaane Williams was arrested last Thursday along with fellow City Councilmember Ydanis Rodríguez and 16 others as they and others attempted to block an ambulance being used to transport Ravi Ragbir to detention last week. Speaking at Judson Memorial Church, Williams talked about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s inspiration and the need for civil disobedience.
NYC Immigration Activist Jean Montrevil Speaks Out After Deportation to Haiti: “My Heart Is Broken”
On Tuesday, immigrant rights leader Jean Montrevil was deported to Haiti after residing in the United States for over three decades. He came to the U.S. from Haiti with a green card in 1986 at the age of 17. During the height of the crack epidemic, he was convicted of possession of cocaine and sentenced to 11 years in prison. He served that time. Upon his release, he married a U.S. citizen, had four children, became a successful small businessman, as well as an immigrant rights activist. He has had no further interaction with the criminal justice system.
Is ICE Targeting Immigration Activists? Family Members of Detained & Deported Leaders Speak Out
Ravi Ragbir, the executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC, was detained on Thursday when he went to his check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. Ravi’s detention sparked a peaceful protest that was met with police violence. Police arrested 18 people, including members of the New York City Council. He is now being held in Florida and faces deportation.
“ICE Is Sending Us a Message”: Activist Maru Mora Villalpando on Being Targeted for Deportation
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed undocumented activist Maru Mora Villalpando in deportation proceedings, in a move she calls retaliation for her political activism. Maru is a nationally known immigrant rights activist who leads the organization, Northwest Detention Center Resistance. She has engaged in multiple acts of civil disobedience to protest deportations and immigrant detentions. She says, only days before Christmas, she received a “Notice to Appear.” She writes, “With the letter delivered to my house, ICE has officially made the leap from a law enforcement agency to a political repression agency, crossing a line that should concern us all.” Maru has lived in the U.S. for more than 25 years.