(Bronx, NY) – Legal Aid Attorneys in the Bronx held an emergency rally today to protest the detention of their client, a young immigrant college student, earlier today and to call on the Office of Court Administration and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore to immediately implement a policy to prohibit Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents from entering Court property, and end Court coordination with ICE. Hundreds of attorneys mobilized from the Legal Aid Society and Bronx Defenders and rallied outside the courthouse, chanting, “No Hate! No Fear! Immigrants are welcome here!” This is the second time that Legal Aid Attorneys in New York City have walked out of Court in protest of the Court’s policy of collaboration with ICE, with the first walk out happening last November in Brooklyn. Hundreds of union members and community groups also rallied on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall, with the same demand, in December.
“Despite continued silence from Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and the Office of Court Administration, our union will continue to mobilize and organize to defend our most vulnerable clients” said Deborah Wright, President of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys – UAW Local 2325. “Our members will not be silent when confronted by injustice in any part of the city.”
“We stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the Bronx,” said Ebette Fortune, Attorney of Color at Legal Aid Representative. “ICE’s practice of using a vulnerable circumstance that overwhelmingly affects black and brown people amounts to disenfranchisement. The Office of Court Administration and the State of New York should not lend a helping hand.”