NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge in New York City has ordered the immediate release of a prominent immigration activist, saying his detention was "unnecessarily cruel."
Applause broke out in a packed Manhattan courtroom Monday after Judge Katherine Forrest announced Ravi Ragbir (RAH'-vee RAHG'-beer) must be released.
The citizen of Trinidad has been fighting deportation after a 2001 fraud conviction.
Forrest read aloud a written ruling saying Ragbir and those like him across the country should have "the freedom to say goodbye" when they are not a threat to flee or a danger to the community.
Lawyers for Ragbir contended their client was targeted by a biased government official upset after witnessing Ragbir's organization and Ragbir himself protesting outside his office.
A government lawyer said there is no evidence to support that.
This story has been corrected to show Ragbir was convicted in 2001, not Jan. 11.