Things That Matter

ICE Has Detained A Worker Who Was Injured In The Hard Rock Hotel Collapse And Now He Could Be Deported Back To Honduras

Native Honduran Delmer Ramirez Palma, a worker injured in the deadly collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans, has been detained for deportation after speaking with the media. The high profile building collapse seems to have exposed Ramirez to immigration authorities, at least that’s what his attorneys believe. The deadly catastrophe killed three workers and injured dozens, many of whom are suing for compensation. 

Ramirez’s detention is in the wake of the Trump administration using increasingly extreme tactics to detain undocumented immigrants, including work raids and ambushing court appearances. According to CNN, in this fiscal year alone, 800,000 migrants have been arrested for crossing the border illegally as laws that protect asylum seekers have been weakened. 

ICE maintains that Ramirez’s arrest has nothing to do with his appearance on a Spanish-language news network where he discussed the building collapse, however, Ramirez’s lawyers feel differently. 

The Hard Rock Hotel’s deadly collapse.

On October 12, an unfinished Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans collapsed killing three workers and injuring dozens. Workers have now filed a lawsuit against the companies involved in the hotel construction, claiming they were negligent and used shoddy materials that were not adequate to support the weight of the higher floors. 

According to NBC, the lawsuit claims the six plaintiffs “sustained serious injuries when the upper floors of the structure under construction began to fall apart, crumble, and collapse upon said workers present on the site.”

Among the plaintiffs is Ramirez who suffered injuries that require medical care. 

Ramirez is arrested two days after discussing the collapse on television. 

Ramirez’s lawyers, Jeremy Pichon, Eric Wright and Daryl Gray, believe it is no coincidence that he was arrested two days after speaking out about the accident on the news. While fishing Ramirez was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents in Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge. 

A Border Patrol spokeswoman said the Wildlife Service agents summoned officers to arrest Ramirez on the grounds that they saw him fishing without a license. When they asked him for identification, the spokeswoman says he was only able to present “foreign citizenship documentation.” 

According to Nola.com, Bryan Cox a regional spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement claimed it was “simply false” to suggest Ramirez’s arrest was related to his employment at the Hard Rock Hotel construction site or his appearance on a Spanish-language television news network.

Ramirez faces deportation as he awaits his fate in a detention center.

A federal immigration judge ordered Ramirez’s deportation in February 2016, according to Cox, who says he will remain in ICE custody “pending removal to his country of citizenship.” Ramirez’s attorneys believe he needs surgery for his injuries but has not had adequate medical treatment in the Louisiana detention center where he is being held. 

Gray and his colleagues say they plan to seek compensation for Ramirez’s injuries but also plan to oppose his deportation. He believes his client’s arrest was set in motion 24 hours before “making a statement about the tragic events” on the news. 

According to CNN, ICE has increasingly deported immigrants who do not have criminal records, “on Trump’s first year, for example, ICE arrested 109,000 criminals and 46,000 people without criminal records—a 171% increase in the number of non-criminal individuals arrested over 2016.”

Ramirez’s story will deter other migrant workers from seeking justice. 

The attorneys fear that Ramirez’s potential deportation will thwart other immigrants injured by the collapse from coming forward with the necessary information or seeking compensation. 

“[They] fear … being deported or some other retribution by their employers,” Gray said at a news. “Just like all Americans, however, they do have the rights that are afforded to us within this courthouse.” 

He added that “Immigrants are exploited for the growth of our great nation. And that does not have to be the case.” 

 Ramirez is joined by Juan Fiallos, Tufino Velazquez, Jorge O’Campo and Genssner Alejandro Villalobos Tejada as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The attorneys expect more will join because so many were injured. Ramirez and the plaintiffs say they warned many individuals in charge of the potential disaster. 

According to the Washington Post, the disaster area is still hazardous with unstable cranes that could potentially topple over and cause more damage. City authorities have ordered people to leave the evacuation zone which is a four-block radius around the site. Residents have been forced to stay in relocation centers while the building is demolished. 

“We’ll find out who did this, we’ll hold them accountable, and we’re going to make sure nothing like this happens again,” Pichon said. 

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10-Year-Old Boy Found Crying Alone Near Border Had Been Deported And Kidnapped With His Mom

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10-Year-Old Boy Found Crying Alone Near Border Had Been Deported And Kidnapped With His Mom

Anyone who has watched this video of a 10-year-old boy asking a Border Patrol officer for help through tears, can admit just how heartbreaking it is. The boy says he was left alone while traveling with a group across the border when they abandoned him.

But now his family is speaking out and sharing the backstory to the emotional video that further highlights just how urgently the crisis at the border needs to be addressed.

Video of a 10-year-old boy wandering near the border quickly went viral for how heartbreaking it was.

A heartbreaking video shared last week by Customs and Border Protection of an unnamed 10-year-old boy found wandering alone in Texas underscored how desperate the situation is on the southern border. The video showed a young Nicaraguan boy found on the side of a dirt road by an off-duty Border Patrol agent after wandering alone for four hours in the desert.

People reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection released footage of the incident, which happened on April 1 by a Rio Grande border patrol agent. The boy explains to the officer that he woke up and discovered that his group had left him behind. “I came looking because I didn’t know where to go, and they can also rob or kidnap me or something,” he told the officer. 

In a statement to the publication, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the agent “transported the child to a Border Patrol facility where he was fed and medically screened.”

But now we’re getting a better understanding of what led to this heartbreaking video.

Now, the boy’s family have described his plight to the Washington Post. Little 10-year-old Wilton Obregon and his mom crossed the border into Texas last month but were expelled under Title 42, a policy that releases migrants back to Mexico without letting them seek asylum.

Hours after they were sent back, they were kidnapped, according to Wilton’s Miami-based uncle, Misael Obregon. The kidnappers called him and demanded a $10,000 ransom but Misael could only pay $5,000 so the kidnappers only released Wilton. They dumped Wilton back at the border. Obregon said his sister is still in custody of the kidnappers. “Now I’m worried that she’s going to die,” he said.

In fact, the boys mom called Misael Obregon on Friday morning, crying after seeing the video of her son crying at the border.

The family’s plight highlights the need for reforms to Title 42.

During the campaign, President Biden complained about the humanitarian consequences of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which forced asylum seekers to wait for the their court hearings in Mexico. Many were forced to wait in dangerous refugee camps along the border that subjected them to human trafficking, violence, and sexual assault.

Under Title 42, though, which began under President Donald Trump and continues under Biden, asylum seekers are again in the same desperate situation. It’s unclear how many of them have been kidnapped.

“The Biden administration is winding down one of the Trump administration’s most notorious policies but at the same time it is expelling other asylum seekers back to the very same dangers, attacks and kidnappings through its continued use of the Trump administration’s Title 42 policy to evade U.S. refugee law,” Eleanor Acer, senior director of refugee protection at Human Rights First, said in a statement.

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ICE Has Gone Rogue As It Continues With Deportations Despite Several Policy Changes

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ICE Has Gone Rogue As It Continues With Deportations Despite Several Policy Changes

Long before taking office, President Biden vowed to undo many of the Trump administration’s most cruel and inhumane immigration policies within days of taking office. But despite several executive orders, Biden’s policies have met several roadblocks and swift changes in immigration policy have yet to arrive.

One major roadblock to ending deportations has been a federal judge that placed a hold on a Biden’s executive order and the other has been a “rogue agency” that’s continued several of Trump’s immigration policies.

Migrant rights advocates are calling ICE a “rogue agency” as it faces new allegations of abuse.

Although President Biden has outlined his immigration policy and installed his new head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – which oversees ICE – the White House still does not have full control of ICE, which faces multiple allegations of human rights abuses and allegations that it has disproportionately targeted Black migrants.

The agency also continues to deport immigrants who don’t fit the categories approved for deportation by DHS – even those who had been taken off deportation flights just hours before.

Many deportees are claiming that ICE has stepped up its torture of detainees.

Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Several migrant rights groups – Freedom for Immigrants, Al Otro Lado and Advocates for Immigrants Rights – published affidavits from Cameroonian asylum seekers who they said were tortured by being forced to approve their own deportations. The asylum seekers described being forced to the floor and having their fingers inked and pressed on to deportation documents they had refused to sign.

According to The Guardian, one Cameroonian asylum seeker described being brought into a room with darkened windows where he was forced by agents to put his fingerprint on a document in lieu of a signature, waiving his rights to further legal process before deportation.

“I tried to stand up because of the force that they were using on me, and they tripped me,” HT said. “I fell on the floor; I kept my hands under my body. I held my hands tight at waist level so they could not have them. Five of the Ice officers and one of the officers in green … joined them. They pressed me down and said that I needed to give them my finger for the fingerprint.”

One man was put on a flight to Haiti even though he’s not Haitian and had never been to that country.

And despite new directives from DHS and the Biden administration, ICE continues to carry out deportation flights containing people who fit none of the current criteria for deportation.

Just last week, Paul Pierrilus, a 40-year-old financial consultant from New York, who had never been to Haiti and is not a Haitian citizen, was taken off a deportation flight at the last moment after the intervention of his local congressman, Mondaire Jones. But just days later, ICE put him on another plane and sent him to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Jones told the Guardian: “Ice is a rogue agency that must be brought to heel. There is no world in which an agency under the control of the leader of the executive branch should continue to deport people after the president of the United States signed an executive order halting deportations for 100 days.”

However, the Biden administration has also moved forward on its own with many deportations.

It’s true that a federal judge ordered the Biden administration not to enforce a 100-day pause on deportations, but the ruling did not require the government to schedule them. However, the administration has moved forward on deportations for hundreds of immigrants within the past two weeks.

It’s unclear how many of those people are considered national security or public safety threats or had recently crossed the border illegally, the priority under new guidance that DHS issued to enforcement agencies.

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