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Immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir released from ICE detention

Ravi Ragbir, an immigrant advocate in New York City, will attend Tuesday night's State of the Union.
 Immigration activist Ravi Ragbir
Immigration activist Ravi Ragbir pictured at a demonstration last March. Photo: Getty Images

New York City immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir has been released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention and is returning home.

Ragbir, executive director of faith-based immigrant rights group The New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, was detained on Jan. 11 at a routine check-in with ICE officials. That action spurred a rally by immigrant advocates at which 18 people, including two New York City councilors, were arrested.

Ragbir was released Monday evening following a federal court decision. His case was processed at 26 Federal Plaza and afterward, an ICE officer brought Ragbir to Judson Memorial Church around 8 p.m., immigrant advocates said, where some of his supporters gathered to welcome him.

“I am thrilled to be home with my family and loved ones, and I know that it is due to the extraordinary community and legal support that I am privileged to have,” Ragbir said in a statement. “We have a struggle in front of us, but it is through our collective commitment to justice that human rights and happiness will persevere.”

Ragbir and his wife, Amy Gottlieb, traveled to Washington on Tuesday to attend the State of the Union as guests of New York Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez.

“Ravi and I are so gratified by Judge Forrest’s order to release him and that she recognized that his detention was unconstitutional,” said Gottlieb, also an immigrant rights advocate with American Friends Service Committee, in a statement.

“As we travel to Washington, DC, we are aware of the need to push even harder for fair and humane immigration laws that allow people to remain with their families in the United States, and we are committed to that effort,” she added. “Attending the State of the Union with Congresswoman Velazquez is an important step that we hope will help raise awareness of the need for change.”