MANHATTAN — It’s been less than a day since a New York man's release from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement immigration detention facility.
But Ravi Ragbir was at Penn Station on Tuesday morning, preparing to hop on an Amtrak train headed for the nation’s capital in the hopes of witnessing President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union speech and sending a message to the immigrant community.
"It shows everyone that they don't need to be afraid," Ragbir said.
This journey, which Ragbir and his wife Amy Gottlieb allowed PIX11 to document, is, if nothing else, a clear act of defiance.
"This is the face of the person you want to deport," Ragbir said. "You have to address me directly - eye to eye."
For supporters of President Trump’s immigration policy, ICE’s decision to move forward with Ragbir's deportation back to his native Trinidad was long overdue, appropriate – and, just as importantly, within the bounds of the law.
After all – Ragbir has a 2001 federal, white collar fraud conviction on his record for which he served prison time.
Doris Meissner served as Acting Commissioner and Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service under the Reagan and Clinton Administrations, and now heads the US immigration policy program at the Migration Policy Institute – a non-partisan think tank.
“This administration is bringing a very different philosophy to the table,” Meissner said. "It’s bringing a philosophy that believes the laws are the laws – the laws should be enforced. And of course that’s a very highly structured interpretation."
Ragbir's wife Amy Gottlieb says the Administration’s more aggressive enforcement efforts deserve more scrutiny for their lack of humanity, citing Tuesday’s federal court decision that freed her husband for a lack of due process.
“It needs to change, because it doesn’t allow people to be considered based on their humanity," Gottlieb said. "So anybody who has a criminal conviction in their past is deportable. And in my world, I want to see a place where a person is not defined by one bad act."