Some New York City residents are outraged at the behavior of ICE agents, the federal government’s deportation police, because they seem to be arresting people randomly and with no reasonable cause.
On Thursday, February 9th, over 100 Bronx residents lined up outside the courthouse to stand up for a man, Aboubacar Dembele Lanier, who was brought to the United States due to no choice of his own at the age of 3. Lanier was arrested upon walking out of the courthouse by ICE agents waiting just outside its doors.
The people protesting outside The Bronx Courthouse are not just random citizens. Every protester is a public defender, knowledgeable of the subject, some of which probably have a better understanding of the immigration laws than the ICE agents who made the arrest. If the protesters were random citizens, this protest may not resonate as loudly as it is. Some of the public defenders who lined up outside the courthouse have clients who have been arrested by ICE agents, for reasons not greater than the fact that they can.
Zaquera Lanier, wife of Aboubacar, told reporters that the agents were waiting outside, with the knowledge that her husband was already inside conducting business that was not associated with any immigration process. Zaquera is a US citizen, her husband only recently signed up for deportation protection under DACA.
The Legal Aid Society, who organized the protest stated to reporters: “The presence of ICE officers in our courthouse and 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.” Could immigrants be less likely to attend their mandatory court visits if they believe they will be arrested for unrelated issues upon exiting the building? This could be the case, and it could lead to higher deportation rate(due to the fact that if you miss a court date an arrest warrant is often issued) which could be precisely the goal of ICE agents.