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The Latest: Freed immigrant activist attends Trump’s speech

January 31, 2018

File-This March 9, 2017, file photo shows Ravi Ragbir, executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, being escorted by supporters after his annual check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in New York. U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez has invited the wife of detained immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address. Ragbir was in federal custody Saturday, several weeks after he was arrested during a routine check-in with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. On Saturday, Velazquez, a Democrat, joined Ragbir's wife, Amy Gottlieb, and other elected officials at a rally in front of the Manhattan office building that houses ICE. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on Ravi Ragbir, an immigrant activist facing deportation who was ordered freed from detention (all times local):

11:45 p.m.

An immigrant activist who was freed from detention as he fights deportation has attended President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.

Ravi Ragbir (RAH’-vee RAHG’-beer) was in the audience Tuesday night as Trump called on Congress to “set politics aside” and overhaul the nation’s immigration system.

Ragbir said afterward that it was difficult to see the reaction from people in the room who “totally bought into what he was saying.”

A judge in New York ordered Ragbir released from detention on Monday.

The activist says immigration officials are engaging in “psychological warfare” by targeting him and other activists for detention and deportation.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement refutes that contention.

Ragbir was invited to the speech as a guest of U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke of Brooklyn, who didn’t attend.

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6:30 p.m.

An immigrant activist who was freed from detention as he fights deportation will attend President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.

Rep. Yvette Clarke’s office says Ravi Ragbir (RAH’-vee RAHG’-beer) will be the Brooklyn congresswoman’s guest at the speech Tuesday night.

A judge in New York ordered Ragbir released from detention on Monday. He had been detained since mid-January.

The activist says immigration officials are engaging in “psychological warfare” by targeting him and other activists for detention and deportation.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement refutes that contention.

Trump has been outspoken about revamping the country’s immigration system and wants to build a Southern border wall and limit legal immigration.

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12:15 p.m.

An immigrant activist freed from detention by a judge’s order says immigration officials are engaging in “psychological warfare” by targeting him and other activists for detention and deportation.

Ravi Ragbir (RAH’-vee RAHG’-beer) says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is trying to send a message to the immigrant community by taking high-profile activists into custody.

ICE refutes that contention and says it doesn’t target anyone “based on advocacy positions they hold or in retaliation for critical comments they make.”

Ragbir was released from detention in New York on Monday following a judge’s ruling. He had been detained since mid-January and has been fighting deportation.

He’s trying to attend the State of the Union address in Washington on Tuesday, where immigration will almost certainly come up.

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12:02 a.m.

A federal judge who ordered a detained immigration rights activist facing deportation to be immediately released is raising “grave concern” over the argument that he had been targeted because of his political activities.

U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest ruled that Ravi Ragbir be freed after a hearing on Monday in Manhattan federal court. The activist had been detained since Jan. 11. He’s been fighting deportation following a wire fraud conviction and is executive director a coalition of faith-based groups.

Concern over activism-based targeting by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also has been expressed in recent weeks by immigrants and their advocates over Ragbir’s and others’ cases.

ICE says it doesn’t target anyone “based on advocacy positions they hold or in retaliation for critical comments they make.”

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