Immigrants Demand End to Racial Profiling by Local Police

NEW ORLEANS WORKERS’ CENTER FOR RACIAL JUSTICE

Contact: Jolene Elberth, NOWCRJ’s Congress of Day Laborers, jelberth@nowcrj.org, 504.881.6647

Immigrants Demand End to Racial Profiling by Local Police

NOWCRJ Demands Information and Accountability from New Llano Police Department after DHS’s own Civil Rights review finds racial profiling by Leesville police while ICE Pushes to Deport Key Witnesses

NEW ORLEANS, LA, Oct. 19, 2015—Following a rally at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters, immigrant workers, family members, and allies are demanding information and accountability from the New Llano police department for the racial profiling of immigrant workers by local police, which has been identified and condemned by DHS’s own Civil Rights staff.

Louisiana civil rights defenders Jose Adan Fugon and Gustavo Barahona are facing deportation after being racially profiled and arrested by local police in Leesville, Louisiana, while waiting for work on a sidewalk in front of the hotel where they were lodged.

As internal DHS emails show, the local 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.

Expanding the community investigation, NOWCRJ has filed a public records request and civil rights complaint with the New Llano Police Department, and is demanding that the workers be released from ICE detention with immediate protection from future deportation as witnesses to and victims of civil rights abuse.

Going against its own internal guidance and the recommendation of its civil rights office, ICE plans to continue with the deportation of Mr. Barahona and Mr. Fugon this week, and has already transferred the individuals to the Alexandria Staging Facility.

“Racially biased policing has a long and ugly history in Louisiana and the rest of the Deep South,” said Jolene Elberth, Organizer with NOWCRJ’s Congress of Day Laborers. “In New Orleans and across Louisiana, we will hold local police accountable for racial profiling and biased policing.”

Julie Mao, NOWCRJ Staff Attorney, said: “When local police use racial profiling to target immigrant workers based solely on the color of their skin, ICE and other law enforcement agencies need to protect workers’ ability to defend their civil rights, rather than compounding the abuse by racing to deport them.”

“Racial profiling by local police is a serious constitutional violation that DHS needs to combat, not to rely on,” she said.