Activist Ravi Ragbir on the Dehumanization of Immigrants

ICE tried to deport this immigration activist for a nearly two-decade-old conviction — even though he already served time. He told Brut that he thinks the Trump administration is intentionally traumatizing immigrant families.

They didn't want to see me deported

ICE raids, family separations, conditions inside detention centers — immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir says the Trump administration is intentionally traumatizing immigrant families. Ragbir is an outspoken critic, even as he fights his own immigration case. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Ragbir has lived in the U.S. for nearly 30 years. His wife and daughter are U.S. citizens. But he faces deportation from a nearly 20-year-old wire fraud conviction — for which he served time. He then spent 22 months in immigrant detention before being released in February 2008. He had routine ICE check-ins, but in January 2018, ICE took him into custody and tried to deport him. He says the traumatizing experience caused him to faint.

Ravi Ragbir recalls the ordeal, “Even as they checked my vitals, they made me walk shackled to the ambulance. They were saying, you know — There were thousands of people you accompany me on the outside. Outside. They didn't want to see me deported. Wow. People were getting an arrested, including elected officials. I've been fighting my deportation since 2006. When they released me from detention in 2008, I continued to regularly check in with [ICE] routinely. But on January 11th, [2018] instead of sort of it being a routine check-in, the assistant field office director said to my attorney and my wife that they are going to take me away. They want to deport me. It became very traumatizing — traumatizing because you know, I was, I fainted. There were thousands of people there accompanying me on the outside and…and they were… they didn't want to see me deported.”

That day, as Ragbir sat inside an ambulance, his supporters protested outside. 18 demonstrators were arrested. In April 2019, a federal court granted Ragbir a stay of deportation because it found ICE violated his constitutional rights by targeting him because of his activism. Ragbir continues his ICE check-ins and lives with uncertainty around being deported. But he continues his advocacy as the Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition NYC, an interfaith group that helps undocumented immigrants facing detention or deportation.


09/03/2019 6:50 PM
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  • Brut
    09/03/2019 18:55

    Special thanks to the . Learn more about their work:

  • Brut
    09/03/2019 19:05

    Ravi Ragbir is one of at least 20 undocumented activists who have been arrested by ICE since President Trump took office.

  • Mary M.
    09/03/2019 19:34


  • Nevin S.
    09/03/2019 19:53

    build that wall

  • Joshua C.
    09/03/2019 22:42

    Terrified ??? GOOD anyone who breaks the law should be

  • Stan D.
    09/03/2019 23:32

    Fake news....

  • Rafaela J.
    09/04/2019 08:00


  • Paul D.
    09/04/2019 22:26

    Oy. He's a convicted felon. End of story.

  • William L.
    09/06/2019 13:08

    Get him out of here

  • Allen J.
    09/06/2019 14:04

    it's not migrant families.This term was made up by democrats.It is illegal alien who crossed the border illegally and this means you broke the law.Very simple.Don't come here illegally.idiots

  • Charles M.
    09/06/2019 19:24

    then get your Citizenship and it will stop, illegal is still illegal, your causing your own harm. stop picking fights with the Government. hope they deport all those who are illegal and have no green cards or papers, killing Calif, and New York. they have no rights, how is that possible. they have no rights in any other country they dont belong in

  • Robert T.
    09/07/2019 00:27

    Thank you ICE for doing your job!!! Now let’s build the wall!!!!

  • Dennis C.
    09/07/2019 03:03

    when is the American homeless and the America Vets going to get the help they deserve?

  • Richard N.
    09/08/2019 01:27

    omg2008 obama was in office an blaming trump wont work

  • Francois P.
    09/08/2019 09:14

    Numerous members of our american government are sons and daughters from previous immigrants. They happened to be: President, Governor, Senator, Congressmen or Congresswomen, Mayor, Judges, Police officers and so on. Our immigrational system had and has always been the backbone of American democracy because immigrants from different part of the globe have contributed to America economic success to becoming a world Superpower. Some immigration laws are outdated and need to be reformed. They are not suitable to our times because the world is changing with times; And, that's the reality of our present moment. There is anything wrongly about enforcing our immigration laws; But, it has to be done in a way not to violating others constitutional rights. Numerous american families have been destroyed and their children are sufferings because of that; Plus, they are American citizens born here. I asked our US government or Congress to modifying our immigration laws to making the USA greater for our next generations. May GOD protects America.

  • Deborah L.
    09/09/2019 01:44

    Build the wall.

  • Bradley B.
    09/09/2019 02:28

    Come legally and you won't have that problem

  • Bob A.
    09/10/2019 01:49

    Then go back to where you came from...

  • John H.
    09/10/2019 01:54

    If you're illegal, you're illegal.

  • Lynn P.
    09/10/2019 09:40

    Be here legally and you won't have to worry about that