Urgent Action Needed: New Sanctuary Coalition Executive Director Detained by ICE

On Monday, January 15, please join us for a rally to call for the immediate release of immigrant rights leaders, Ravi Ragbir, Executive Director of New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, and Co-Founder Jean Montrevil. Mr. Ragbir was detained on Thursday while reporting to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for a routine check-in. Mr. Ragbir’s detention comes just one week after ICE detained Jean Montrevil, another immigrant rights leader. To receive text updates, text ISTANDWITHRAVI to 41411.

12pm: Jericho Walk, Washington Square Park, NYC
1pm: Press Conference, Judson Memorial Church, NYC

Earlier events at Judson Church:
9am: Breakfast at Judson Memorial Church, NYC
10am : MLK Service with Ruby Sales, Judson Memorial Church, NYC

In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., faith leaders, elected officials, and immigration and legal advocates will come together to condemn the institutional oppression of marginalized communities and hold a “Jericho Walk” in Washington Square Park, around Ai Wei Wei’s “Arch” migration sculpture. A press conference will be held following the vigil to call for Mr. Montrevil and Mr. Ragbir’s release, and to honor the 18 people who were arrested putting their bodies on the line in the tradition of peaceful civil disobedience in defense of Mr. Ragbir.

In the face of Trump’s unprecedented assault on immigrant communities and blatant racism, the fight for the rights and dignity of immigrants is more important than ever. Trump’s recent disparaging remarks about Caribbean and African countries, like Mr. Ragbir and Mr. Montrevil’s homelands of Trinidad and Haiti, respectively, highlight the critical need for continued resistance and unity.

SPEAKERS: New York City Councilmembers Jumaane Williams and Ydanis Rodriguez, who were among the 18 people arrested in an act of civil disobedience during Thursday’s solidarity vigil; Rev. Kaji Douša, whose grandfather stood with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial; Rev. Donna Schaper, civil rights leader and senior minister at Judson Memorial Church; Alina Das, Professor at New York School of Law and legal counsel to Ravi Ragbir; and loved ones of Jean and Ravi.

More ways you can help us secure Ravi’s immediate release here.


  • NYC ICE FIELD OFFICE: 212-264-4213
  • ICE OFFICE OF POLICY: 202-732-4292

You can use the following script: “Hi, my name is ___________, and I am calling to request that ICE release Ravi Ragbir, A Number: 044-248-862. Ravi was detained today in New York City. Ravi is a husband, father, and a cherished community leader, and we need him here in the United States. I respectfully ask you to release him from detention and grant him a new stay of removal. Thank you.”


  • If you live in New York, call Senator Chuck Schumer at 212-486-4430 (NYC); 202-224-6542 (DC) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: 212-688-6262 (NYC); 202-224-4451 (DC)
  • If you live outside of New York, call your local representatives in congress. You can find their contact information here.

Script: “Hello, my name is ___, and I calling about Ravi Ragbir, A Number: 044-248-862. Ravi was detained today in New York City. Ravi is a husband, father, and cherished community leader, and we need him here in the United States. I respectfully ask you to meet with DHS Secretary Nielsen and urge her to release Ravi from detention and grant him a new stay of removal. Thank you.”

Share Ravi’s video call to action.

Video message from Ravi Ragbir from New Sanctuary Coalition on Vimeo.

Press Release and Breaking News Alert:

Nationally recognized immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir was detained today, while reporting to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a routine check-in. Hundreds are gathered outside the federal immigration building at 26 Federal Plaza in downtown New York City to show solidarity with all those affected by the deportation machine, including Ragbir, when ICE detained him.

Mr. Ragbir is the Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, a faith-based coalition devoted to immigrant rights.  Ragbir is a fixture in the immigrant rights movement, and was awarded the 2017 Immigrant Excellence Award by the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, given to those who show “deep commitment to the enhancement of their community.”  

New Sanctuary Coalition Co-Chair Rev. Kaji Dousa, Senior Pastor of Park Avenue Christian Church, stated that “Ravi Ragbir means everything to this city. 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.”

Mr. Ragbir has lived with the threat of deportation for nearly a decade, as the result of a 16-year old conviction for wire fraud. He was placed into removal proceedings in 2006 and spent twenty-two months in immigration detention before being released in February 2008. During immigration detention and since his release, Ragbir has devoted his life to the lives of immigrants, working tirelessly to end the use of immigration detention, stop deportations, and secure relief for countless individuals. Previously, ICE officials had granted Ragbir prosecutorial discretion, including a stay of removal that was in effect until next week.

Mr. Ragbir’s detention comes just days after Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained Jean Montrevil, another immigrant rights leader who was one of the founding members of the New Sanctuary Coalition and who, like Ravi, had been permitted to live with his family in the U.S. pending his legal challenges to his case. “The detention of both Ravi and Jean is an affront to faith-based communities everywhere,” stated Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director of the Interfaith Coalition of New York City. “People who are willing to speak out against the injustices of the immigration system should not be targeted for deportation. No one should be treated this way.”

Leading immigrant and civil rights organizations and event co-sponsors American Friends Service Committee, Brooklyn Defender Services, Center for Constitutional Rights, Detention Watch Network, Immigrant Defense Project, LatinoJustice, Make the Road New York, MinKwon Center for Community Action, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Project, New York Civil Liberties Union, New York Immigration Coalition, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, UnLocal, Inc. rallied outside 26 Federal Plaza, where Ragbir was detained. The event was also attended by City Council Members Brad Lander, Carlos Menchaca, Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, and State Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, in addition to hundreds of community members and faith leaders.

Contact: Will Coley, Digital Media, will@aquifermedia.com917-523-1963