On Volatile Day, Immigration Activists Descend on Varick Street ICE Office - Gay City News | Gay City News

On Volatile Day, Immigration Activists Descend on Varick Street ICE Office

Linda Sarsour and the Reverend Donna Schaper were among those rallying on Varick Street last night.

PHOTO ESSAY BY DONNA ACETO, REPORTING BY PAUL SCHINDLER | Even as congressional leaders scrambled Thursday to forge an agreement on the fate of roughly 800,000 Dreamers, federal agents in Manhattan from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained a leading immigration rights advocate, Ravi Ragbir, as he did a routine check-in with government officials. When he learned he was being detained, Ragbir, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, fainted and as an ambulance arrived to carry him to a hospital, a crowd of supporters including several city councilmembers, arrived at the Jacob Javits Federal Building downtown to protest the immigration rights leader’s detention.

A scuffle between the activists and police and federal authorities led to the arrest of Councilmembers Ydanis Rodriguez of Manhattan and Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn, both of whom were captured on video receiving rough treatment. Chelsea’s Corey Johnson, the new Council speaker, was also on hand, and, according to the New York Times, said, “It got a little too rough here today from law enforcement,” before telling a nearby police official, “Your people were out of control!” He added, “I want the PC to call me now!,” referring to NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill.

Hours later, at 5 p.m., immigration rights advocates turned up outside the Manhattan offices of ICE at the federal building at Varick and Houston Streets. Among those showing their support for Ragbir were members of the New Sanctuary Coalition, Make the Road New York, Rise and Resist, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Brooklyn Councilmember Brad Lander, Former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Linda Sarsour, an advocate for American Muslims who helped organize last January’s Women’s March, Reverend Donna Schaper of Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square Park, and actress and activist Kathleen Chalfant. Police adopted a largely hands-off approach to the late-day protest.

Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

As the demonstrators were rallying on Varick Street, Trump was busy at the White House throwing a huge wrench into the discussions about immigration and a fix for the dangers facing the nearly million residents in the US under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program by referring to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as “shithole countries.” Last year, the president had said, according to the New York Times, that Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS” and that Nigerian immigrants would never “go back to their huts.”

Kathleen Chalfant.

Last night, the White House defended the president’s words without making any reference to the “shithole” comment. When Trump took to Twitter this morning to try to backpedal, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the minority whip and the only Democratic elected official in the room, said the president had used the word “shithole” repeatedly amidst comments that were “hate-filled, vile, and racist.”

Councilmember Brad Lander.

Manhattan Borough President, at center behind the Immigrantes sign, joined the protesters.

Linda Sarsour.



5 Responses to On Volatile Day, Immigration Activists Descend on Varick Street ICE Office

  1. JTT January 12, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    Yeah, that's all we need is more Muslims in NYC. Ask the gay men in London.

    • Paul Schindler January 12, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      Joe, your racism seems pretty knee-jerk. Accent on jerk.

      • JTT January 14, 2018 at 12:52 am

        How is that racist ? Muslims are every race : white, black, Asian, etc. If anything I'm Islamophobic. You need an education.

    • paul January 14, 2018 at 12:13 pm

      Joe, now that you’ve admitted to religious prejudice, it becomes even harder to imagine there is not also racism behind that Islamophobia. Yes, Muslims come from all races, but the predominance of them live in particular places on the globe. Hate is hate is hate.

      • JTT January 14, 2018 at 4:26 pm

        Nope. Just be big about it and admit that your call of racism was incorrect. I despise Muslims, but they are black (like in the Sudan where they throw gays into fires); white (like in Chechnya where they put gays into the new Auschwitz); Arab (like in Saudi Arabia where they execute gay men); and Asian (like in Indonesia where they publicly cane anyone convicted of homosexual acts…..to cheering crowds too).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

six − = three