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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  • John R.
    10/01/2019 03:09

    I would say the same things if i were paid by the left.

  • Michael V.
    10/01/2019 02:47

    All these saying its illegal there ancestors did it illegally. Ghis land was stolen from the Natives.

  • Samuel L.
    10/01/2019 01:43

    I don’t care if your an immigrant. I care how you came to be in this country. Do it legally. It’s the same thing with my house. I don’t care if you came to visit. However, if you’re sneaking into my house and I confront you; there will be me and you in that confrontation......and then just me.

  • Jeff L.
    09/30/2019 19:57

    Too bad don’t come

  • Hugh H.
    09/30/2019 17:53

    I Love it

  • Jeffrey M.
    09/30/2019 15:22

    Build. That. Wall.

  • Lunark M.
    09/30/2019 14:59

    We don't have a problem with immigrants, just do the paperwork and process properly, I do think more help and aid should be given as a decent human commodity like food, water and shelter if they don't have any and need it until the process is done

  • Cacho A.
    09/30/2019 13:03

    Don’t comeback if you afraid!

  • Dan Y.
    09/30/2019 07:43

    Don’t come!

  • Gary B.
    09/30/2019 07:31


  • Ayan S.
    09/29/2019 23:40

    Send him to his country immediately

  • Kota L.
    09/29/2019 20:32

    Okay what part of illegally is so hard to understand?..... Some one Rob's a bank.... Criminal. Someone kills.... Criminal. Someone sells drugs.... Criminal. What do these things have in common with one another? They are illegal and most of you look down upon people that act out these crimes. However, someone crosses our border illegally. And it okay?

  • Josh E.
    09/29/2019 16:37

    If you are here illegally you should be nervous.

  • Jason W.
    09/29/2019 03:01

    Good job Trump keep up the good work and keep the illegals out of our country

  • Jess H.
    09/29/2019 01:54

    If someone is in the country ILLEGALLY then they should be deported, SIMPLE.

  • Timothy S.
    09/29/2019 01:53

    Then send them back where they came from! We have starving kids here and veterans that are turned away all too often! Send them back!

  • Charlie W.
    09/28/2019 17:02

    Every body i work with elegals every day in agriculture. It is all about money. 1 American dollar is worth between 12 and 27 im Mexican dollars. They send 100 dollars back to their country it becomes 1200 dollars.

  • Charity F.
    09/28/2019 15:23

    He don't need to be in this country

  • Jason R.
    09/28/2019 14:39

    Don’t Come illegally

  • Matthew B.
    09/28/2019 13:57

    Break the law go to jail!