Statement on Today’s ICE Arrest in Brooklyn

The Legal Aid Society released the following responding to today’s arrest of a Legal Aid client by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents at Brooklyn Criminal Court.


Judge Montebano in Brooklyn Criminal Court informed the defense attorney of record that ICE was present to arrest her client, and the judge directed that the attorney be given time to confidentially consult with the client. When the attorney walked outside of the courtroom with her client, ICE immediately made the arrest, took the client into a restricted, non-public area and denied our attorney access when she attempted to speak with him.

Upon returning to the courtroom, Legal Aid attorneys made a record about how ICE had arrested the client prior to his lawyer being able to advise him of what was about to happen, how ICE agents refused to identify themselves to the client, all before attorneys could advise him of his right to remain silent. A record was also made about how the court officers had physically denied the defense attorney contact with her client in order to advise him of his rights.

“The Legal Aid Society’s attorneys have an ethical and constitutional duty to advise and represent our clients, and that’s exactly what they were trying to do,” said Tina Luongo, Attorney-In-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society. “While we understand the Office of Court Administration’s position that court officers are responsible for the safety and security of the courthouse, ICE’s presence undermines this and compromises the integrity of our judicial system. ICE courthouse arrests have proliferated under the current White House and pose risks for everyone. Despite calls from a chorus of organizations and individuals, the State has yet to promulgate a meaningful solution that effectively addresses this issue. Incidents like today will unfortunately continue until courthouse ICE arrests cease.”