Federal judge orders release of immigrant rights activist: 'The Constitution commands better'
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A federal judge in Manhattan on Monday ripped the Trump administration for its immigration tactics and ordered the release of a detained immigrant rights activist.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest ordered the release of Ravi Ragbir, who was arrested during a routine check-in meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in New York earlier this month, The Washington Post reported.

In her opinion, she scolded authorities for their move to "pluck him out of his life without a moment's notice." She said he should have been given "the freedom to say goodbye" before he was detained.


“It ought not to be — and it has never before been — that those who have lived without incident in this country for years are subjected to treatment we associate with regimes we revile as unjust, regimes where those who have long lived in a country may be taken without notice from streets, home, and work. And sent away,” said Forrest, who read her opinion in court.

“We are not that country,” Forrest said, “and woe be the day that we become that country under a fiction that laws allow it.”

On Monday, Ragbir was released from the Orange County Correctional Facility in New York. His attorney told The Washington Post he will fight his deportation.

ICE said in a statement to The Associated Press that the agency was "concerned with the tone of the district's court decision, which equates the difficult work ICE professionals do every day to enforce our immigration laws with ‘treatment we associate with regimes we revile as unjust.'”

ICE said it was “actively exploring its appellate options.”

Ragbir — who serves as the director of the immigrant advocacy group New Sanctuary Coalition in New York — became a lawful resident in the country in 1994. He was convicted in 2000 of wire fraud and conspiracy and was ordered to be deported after serving a prison sentence. 

In 2008, he was released from detention under supervision as his case went through immigration courts and he received work authorization and four stays of removal.

Ragbir — who had received a final order of deportation, with his last stay up on Jan. 19 — was detained by immigration authorities during a routine check-in earlier this month. 

A brief from the government said he had "received all the due process he is constitutionally due."

Forrest said Monday that if "due process means anything at all, it means that we must look at the totality of circumstances and determine whether we have dealt fairly when we are depriving a person of the most essential aspects of life, liberty and family."

“The process that is due here is the allowance that he know and understand that the time has come, that he must organize his affairs, and that he do so by a date certain," Forrest said.

She wrote that taking "such a man ... and subjecting him to what is rightfully understood as no different or better than penal detention, is certainly cruel."

"The Constitution commands better," she wrote.

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) earlier this month invited the Ragbir's wife to President Trump's first State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Amy Gottlieb said she will "go proudly ... to what I'm sure will be a fascinating experience at the State of the Union address," according to The Associated Press.