WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan — Amanda Guerra decided to remain in the shadows of this Washington Heights church she now calls home.
It’s a choice the Long Island-based Guatemalan immigrant made after skipping her routine ICE check-in as several dozen people sat in the pews Wednesday night listening to the elected officials who have emerged as leading voices in the fight to free Ravi Ragbir.
“What we believe is that we are in a critical moment in our history,” said Councilman Rodriguez.
Several elected officials joined New York City Councilmen Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams, and Rodriguez’s lawyer, Ron Kuby, to criticize the treatment they received at the hands of local and federal law enforcement officers following last week’s detention of the well-known immigration advocate.
“The video that many people saw of myself, on the hood, and Ydanis being dragged on the floor is appalling,” said Councilman Williams.
“If the district attorney’s office intends to pursue these charges, we stand ready to defend on those basis,” said Kuby.
Ragbir’s supporters declared victory upon learning that Ragbir would be no longer be held in Miami.
An ICE spokesperson tells PIX11 News:
"While in transit to Miami, ICE received notification that a federal court judge granted him a temporary stay of removal, which prevented ICE from removing him to his country of origin. He is still in ice custody in Miami and will be transported back to New York pending resolution of his court proceedings."
Dominican Women’s Development Center Executive Director Rosita Romero supports Ragbir and sanctuary seeker Amanda Guerra.
She says there are no illusions in the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Washington Heights about ICE's perceived shift in immigration enforcement to casting a wider net to deport more immigrants – even those without criminal records.
“Mothers don’t even want to take their children to the parks. They are afraid from taking them to school. It’s affecting the quality of life of immigrant families,” said Romero.
Although ICE has acknowledged it is holding off, for now, on deporting Ragbir back to his native Trinidad, it is unclear exactly whether he is still in transit, or back in New York City.