Hundreds rally in Brooklyn to stop ICE, deportations

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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — It is a controversy that isn't going away.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have been showing up to courthouses to take undocumented immigrants into custody.

Hundreds of public defenders and immigration advocates rallied in Downtown Brooklyn Thursday. They want the New York State Unified Court System to stop ICE activity inside courthouses.

Diana Eusevio, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, said she gets nervous when she must go to court.

"I've had to go to court in the past couple months for various reasons and that is always a concern I keep in mind," Eusevio said.

Immigration attorney Luis Mancheno said ICE agents often blend into the crowd inside courthouses. "It's hard to distinguish because they are usually wearing civilian clothing, plain clothes. So they are able to hide in the audience and for that reason we are not able to see them," he said.

ICE maintained it "... does not target victims or witnesses for enforcement action."

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said it focuses on people with significant criminal histories.

But according to the protesting public defenders Thursday, their clients are being snatched up before getting their day in court.

A spokesperson for the New York State Unified Court System said, "Court Officers are not complicit, do not coordinate with, facilitate or impede actions by outside law enforcement, including ICE agents, when they effect an arrest inside New York State Courthouses."

NY Courts said it's raised concerns about ICE activity at Family Court and Human Trafficking Court and has asked ICE to designate courthouse sensitive locations.