PORTLAND (AP) — Federal immigration officers have detained an asylum seeker when he appeared in court to answer a drunken driving charge in Maine.

Immigration advocates have criticized the federal tactic of targeting immigrants at courthouses. The Portland Press Herald reported (http://bit.ly/2oeI5cR) that immigration attorneys and state officials say Thursday’s episode was the first such detention in Maine.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman said 28-year-old Abdi Ali had an “extensive” misdemeanor criminal history including two assault convictions. Defense lawyer Tina Nadeau said her client, who’s from Somalia, appeared in court on a drunken-driving charge.

Nadeau says as the initial appearance wrapped up, three men identifying themselves as ICE agents entered the room. The Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project says OUI is not usually considered a serious enough offense to deport someone.

Ali Abdi

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