Dharun Ravi was convicted in May of spying on and intimidating his gay roommate
The roommate's suicide thrust the issue of cyberbullying into the national spotlight
Officials reviewed Ravi's criminal record and opted not to deport him, a spokesman says
The former Rutgers University student convicted of spying on and intimidating his gay roommate – who later committed suicide – will not be deported back to his native India, a U.S. immigration spokesman said Monday.
“Based on a review of Mr. Ravi’s criminal record, ICE is not initiating removal proceedings at this time,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Ross Feinstein said Monday.
Dharun Ravi, 20, was found guilty in May on all counts including invasion of privacy, witness tampering, hindering apprehension and bias intimidation.
His former roommate, 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, killed himself by jumping off New York’s George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River after learning Ravi had secretly recorded Clementi’s intimate encounter with another man.
The September 2010 death of Tyler Clementi, and Ravi’s trial this year, thrust the issue of cyberbullying and prejudices against homosexuals into the national spotlight.
While Ravi could have been sentenced to 10 years in prison, New Jersey Superior Judge Glenn Berman instead gave him a 30-day jail sentence, three years of probation and must complete 300 hours of community service aimed at assisting victims of bias crimes.
The judge said at the time that he took factors including Ravi’s youth and his lack of a criminal record into consideration when handing down his sentence.
He also did not recommend that Ravi be forced out of the United States. Berman told the Indian national the only reason he did not recommend deportation was because the man involved in the videotaped encounter with Clementi, identified in court only as “M.B.,” said in his victim impact statement that he did not believe Ravi should be made to leave the country – and would be willing to write a letter to that effect.
Ravi is a citizen of India who graduated from a U.S. high school and had been studying on a visa at the New Jersey university at the time of Clementi’s death.
U.S. immigrations officials commonly deport non-citizens who are convicted of “certain crimes” like an aggravated felony, domestic violence or drug and weapons offenses, Feinstein said.
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement are “legally prohibited from removing individuals who are lawful permanent residents of the United States” if they have not been convicted of such crimes, the agency said. Moreover, an immigration judge must decide whether or not to deport someone.
Ravi began serving his 30-day jail term on May 31, two days after apologizing in a written statement for spying on Clementi with a webcam. His lawyer filed a notice of appeal of his conviction earlier this month, a New Jersey Middlesex County Court spokesman said.