ICE pushing deportation of racially profiled workers – 10-15-15

NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 15, 2015–Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is preparing for the immediate deportation of Jose Adan Fugon and Gustavo Barahona, two Louisiana civil rights defenders and members of NOWCRJ’s Congress of Day Laborers, in spite of an internal DHS civil rights review finding that the workers were arrested based solely on racial profiling, and recommending their release.

Oct. 15, 2015 Los Angeles Times story on the arrests

Emails from DHS and workers’ counsel re: civil rights review (PDF, 2M)

Mr. Fugon and Mr. Barahona are construction workers who were racially profiled and arrested by local police in Leesville, Louisiana, while standing on a public sidewalk waiting for work. The police arrested the workers solely for immigration purposes and brought them to the jail, where Border Patrol took custody of the workers, even though DHS’s Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) guidelines state that DHS agencies should not seek the transfer of individuals who do not have criminal convictions. Mr. Barahona and Mr. Fugon have now spent more than 100 days in immigration detention and face imminent deportation even as they have participated in an ongoing civil rights investigation into their arrest.

Emails related to DHS’s internal civil rights investigation into the arrests and detentions, which confirmed what the workers have been saying for 138 days in immigration detention since their unlawful arrest:

  • The police racial profiled them and made an unconstitutional arrest.
  • Border Patrol then compounded this misconduct by taking custody from the police.
  • When ICE reviewed the arrest, it refused to release them and held them in detention violating its own internal policies.

Mr. Fugon and Mr. Barahona should be released immediately with protections from future deportation. Their story also shows a larger pattern of DHS misconduct. Immigration enforcement officials rely on bad police arrests and operate with impunity. Even when workers raise serious constitutional concerns, ICE pushes for their deportation. And PEP and other programs are contributing to racial profiling and civil rights violations with no accountability.

For more information, CONTACT:

Joleen Elberth, jelberth@nowcrj.org, (504) 881-6647, Immigration Organizer, NOWCRJ’s Congress of Day Laborers