ICE Deports Man at Center of Civil Rights Exposé – 10-20-15

CONTACT: Jolene Elberth, (504) 881-6647, NOWCRJ’s Congress of Day Laborers

ICE Deports Man at Center of Civil Rights Exposé, Pushes for Deportation of Second Witness Later This Week

NEW ORLEANS, LA, Oct. 20, 2015—In an open disregard for clear evidence of civil rights abuses, and despite continued investigations into their arrests, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fast-tracked the deportation of Jose Adan Fugon, removing him from the country Tuesday morning, and is still scheduled to deport Gustavo Barahona-Sanchez later this week.

In describing the case, Department of Homeland Security civil rights office director Megan Mack wrote in an email to ICE Director Sarah Saldaña, “The only basis for the arrest seems to have been to give Border Patrol an opportunity to run an immigration investigation… This is not a practice the department wishes to endorse or facilitate.”

As confirmed by the DHS’s civil rights division, the two men were profiled by New Llano police as they waited for work outside the hotel where they were staying. Their arrest without charges and subsequent transfer to ICE prompted the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ) to file formal civil rights complaints while the men spent over 140 days in detention.

NOWCRJ has filed complaints with the Department of Justice and the New Llano Police Department over ongoing racial profiling by local police solely for the purpose of transfer into ICE custody, as well as continued collaboration by ICE and Customs and Border Protection. This collaboration continues in spite of a proscription against transfer of low priority individuals in DHS’s new Priority Enforcement Program.

“ICE’s disregard for the concerns raised in the investigation by the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is appalling,” said Jolene Elberth, organizer for NOWCRJ’s Congress of Day Laborers. “By deporting Mr. Fugon, ICE is showing that racial profiling, improper detention, and civil rights abuses mean nothing, simply because these men are ‘priorities.’ ICE continues to act with impunity and with no concern for civil rights.”

“This case is made up of a string of violations by ICE—first in taking victims of racial profiling into custody against Priorities Enforcement Program rules, second in holding them in extended detention, third in ignoring its own civil rights review, and fourth in deporting people who are part of on-going investigations,” Elberth said.

In less than a week, 2,000 people have joined the demand that the men be released at

On Friday, the New Orleans Workers’ Center filed a public records request into other similar incidents and a civil rights complaint with the local police department.

The second person involved in the case, Gustavo Barahona-Sanchez, is likely to be deported as soon as Friday morning. ICE is planning to deport him to Honduras even though his family and two young U.S. citizen children live in the United States.