NEW JERSEY — Aboubacar Dembele, 27, is spending his second straight night in ICE custody at the Hudson County Jail in New Jersey — the latest example of the agency’s literal, strict interpretation of existing immigration laws.
Strict because Dembele was brought to the United States as an undocumented three year old by his family from Africa’s Ivory Coast, and has no criminal record.
Yet, ICE agents arrested him after his hearing at the Bronx Criminal Courthouse for an open case involving a misdemeanor assault charge.
Monica Dula of the Legal Aid Society is Dembele’s attorney.
“This is destroying families. Here’s a person who’s working, goes to school, raising a family , and doing what we think good citizens should do, and he’s being detained in Hudson Country jail right now,” said Dula.
An ICE spokesperson tells PIX11, “Dembele was arrested by local authorities on December 15, 2017, for misdemeanor assault charges. He was released from local custody with an active ICE detainer in place.”
In separate twist, prominent immigration advocate Ravi Ragbir is currently engaged into two lawsuits, and Friday learned one of them successfully delayed his deportation back to Trinidad, which was scheduled for Saturday.
Ragbir, who has a 17 year old federal, white collar fraud conviction on his record, argues he’s being targeted because of his leadership position in the immigration movement — and that he should be allowed to say in the U.S. because of the prison time he served, along with the years of immigration advocacy work he’s done since his release.
“I’m optimistic that the judicial branch is becoming aware of the harm that is being created by this policy. But I’m more optimistic by the people that have been coming together,” said Ragbir.
Regarding Ragbir’s case, an ICE spokesperson says,
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not target unlawfully present aliens for arrest based on advocacy positions they hold or in retaliation for critical comments they make. Any suggestion to the contrary is irresponsible, speculative and inaccurate.”
An ICE spokesperson confirms to PIX11 there are other undisclosed issues at play in Dembele’s case – that have nothing to do with the misdemeanor charge, that prompted his arrest at the courthouse. Keep in mind, he was already put on ICE's radar for being undocumented following his arrest back in December.