NEW YORK – Two New York City council members were arrested on Thursday during a protest in support of a well-known pro-immigrant activist who was arrested early in the morning by federal agents and is under threat of deportation.
The two councilors are Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams, both Democrats, and they were arrested along with about 20 other people during the protest in Manhattan, Rodriguez confirmed on the social networks.
“Arrested with Councilman @JumaaneWilliams and more than 10 people for fighting for Ravi (Ragbir) and all undocumented brothers and sisters,” Rodriguez said on Twitter.
He added that this is not how people protesting in favor of human rights should be treated in a democracy and posted a photo of himself being arrested.
Some 300 people gathered near City Hall on Thursday, to protest the arrest of Ragbir, who is under threat of deportation.
The activist was arrested by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents during a “routine check-in meeting” with ICE officials and was taken away in an ambulance after fainting, local media reported.
“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,” New Sanctuary Coalition Co-Chair Rev. Kaji Dousa, Senior Pastor of Park Avenue Christian Church, said in a statement.
Ragbir, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, heads the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City and has been living in the US for two decades, but his legal residence here is in jeopardy due to a conviction for wire fraud in 2001.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was informed of what happened at the protest, his spokesman, Eric Phillips, said, adding that local security camera footage will be examined to determine exactly what occurred.