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Public defenders protest outside of NYC courthouse after ICE arrest

[JURIST] Dozens of attorneys with the Legal Aid Society and Bronx Defenders [official websites] on Thursday held a protest [Tweet] outside of the Bronx Criminal Court after one of their clients were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents outside of the state courthouse.

The defendant, Aboubacar Dembele, 27, had showed up at the Bronx Criminal Court House for a court appearance on a misdemeanor assault charge, however, as Dembele left the building, ICE agents were waiting for him.

The attorney's believe that ICE agents should not seek out individuals at a courthouse. In a statement by the Legal Aid Society, one attorney said [Tweet], "the presence of ICE officers in our courthouses and the perception that no immigrant is safe to seek their day in court, is threatening to upend our entire legal process and the principles upon which it stands."

Dembele, originally from the Ivory Coast, came to the US at the age of three. He has no criminal record and was at the Bronx courthouse attempting to resolve an open case. In addition, Dembele had also attempted to apply to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and he currently has a green card application pending through his wife, who is a US citizen.

As the protesters raised signs and clapped in harmony, they chanted, "say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here."

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