(ESPAÑOL) New York Mayor de Blasio urged ICE not to deport immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir — as his police department faced scrutiny on their conduct at a protest sparked by Ragbir’s arrest.
In a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office director Thomas Decker Wednesday, de Blasio said the “beloved New York City community leader” should get to stay.
Ragbir was released from federal custody on a judge’s order, but still faces deportation as soon as Saturday.
“In his more than 20 years as a lawful permanent resident in the United States, Mr. Ragbir has made significant contributions to the city’s civic life and has been widely recognized for his work as a speaker, educator, and organizer on issues related to immigrant rights,” de Blasio wrote.
Meanwhile, City Council members probed NYPD brass on their handling of the January protest where demonstrators including two Councilmen said they were violently arrested.
“The response was overwhelming force,” said Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn), one of those arrested.
NYPD legislative affairs director Oleg Chernyavsky said when the protest grew larger than expected, the Strategic Response Group was called in to help control the crowd, and arrested protesters who were blocking an ambulance that was carrying Ragbir.
He denied cops had responded at the request of ICE, or coordinated with ICE during the protest.
“There certainly was absolutely no coordination with ICE…We took enforcement action based on violation not of immigration law, but violations of laws of the state of New York and local laws,” he said. “It’s irresponsible to allege that we coordinate on immigration enforcement.”
After the earlier protests, Chernyavsky said police went to the hospital and then drove to the tunnel because they believed there might be more demonstrations — even though that did not happen. He wouldn’t say whether NYPD would give such escorts in the future, saying it would be decided case by case.
Ragbir was previously arrested during a court visit, where ICE officials entered with the intent of capturing him and processing him for deportation.