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Help support two members of our partner organization, the Congress of Day Laborers!

July 8, 2014

On May 13, 2014, Wilmer Irias Palma and Yestel Velasquez were arrested when ICE conducted a sweeping workplace raid of a Latino auto-shop in a heavily Latino suburb of New Orleans. Wilmer was working on auto repairs and Yestel was a customer retrieving his car when ICE raided the shop, detaining anyone onsite.

Over the past two years, the ICE Southern Regional Office has been targeting Latino neighborhoods and businesses frequented by Latinos across the New Orleans area, for stop-and-frisk type raids where Latinos are stopped, fingerprinted, and arrested. Such operations have been the subject of national concern and attention.

In May, Wilmer and Yestel filed a complaint with DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties reporting these abusive ICE operations, and DHS has opened an investigation. In response ICE has denied their request for prosecutorial discretion by granting a three-month stay of removal which ICE is requiring them to serve in detention. Effectively sentencing civil rights complainants to detention followed by deportation violates ICE’s prosecutorial discretion policy and clearly deters victims from reporting civil rights abuse by ICE.

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