Councilman Kalman Yeger denounced a City Council resolution last week that called on the federal government to prevent the deportation of an immigrant convicted of defrauding people out of millions of dollars.
Yeger, a Brooklyn Democrat, was one of just seven lawmakers to vote against the motion to prevent Ravi Ragbir from being returned to his native Trinidad and Tobago.
Yeger said in a statement Tuesday that he supports the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that allows illegal immigrants brought over as children to remain.
But he said that Ragbir’s 2000 conviction and 30-month prison time as part of a criminal scheme to facilitate fake mortgages based on identity fraud made him ineligible for leniency.
“The person who we’re doing this resolution for is not the right example of what’s wrong with immigration in Washington,” Yeger said in a floor speech. “The problem with immigration in Washington is that it’s not recognizing our dreamers; it’s not recognizing those who have come here and abided by the law, who have done right by their community and done right by America.”
Yeger pointed to a Daily News editorial last week written by Errol Louis, which highlights the cost of Ragbir’s crimes. In his 2000 confession, Ragbir said that he had processed $1.5 million worth of fraudulent loans, money that was ultimately stolen from the savings of ordinary Americans.
“This shines a spotlight on someone who is a criminal,” Yeger said. “Now he may be a reformed criminal. He may no longer be committing felonies on a regular basis. But he is not deserving of the assistance of the Council.”
“Mr. Ragbir is not a Dreamer. Dreamers come here and do not violate laws,” Yeger said in a statement. “Mr. Ragbir is somebody who committed crimes of his own admission.”