New York, N.Y. (Circa) - Hundreds of legal activists are expected to rally and march to the Office of Court Administration in New York Thursday to demand "immediate action" to protect their clients from looming U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in state courthouses.
Legal aid attorneys, public defenders, unions and community groups will all be in attendance, according to a Facebook post for the event.
"This policy of continued cooperation with ICE puts our clients in danger, robs them of their right to due process, and makes the Office of Court Administration complicit in Trump's horrific mass deportation agenda," the page reads.
Since President Donald Trump took office, ICE has ramped up enforcement of immigration laws as part of a nationwide crackdown on illegal immigration.
The courts should be a means of access to justice, not tenets of fear. So long as ICE Agents are able to arrest individuals in New York State Courts during their court appearances, there is no equal access to justice."
In 2017, New York City saw a 900 percent spike in the number of immigrants targeted by ICE agents, seeking to take them into federal, not local police custody, according to the Immigrant Defense Project.
The group also found that 20 percent of the immigrants ICE arrested last year had no prior criminal convictions.
In a statement released last year, the New York Legal Assistance Group said they have had multiple clients report that there are "victims who are afraid to report crimes and witnesses unwilling to appear in court," out of fear of arrest, detention and deportation.