Friday, August 15, 2014
Last week I wrote about ICE enforcement efforts that have resulted in racial profiling and civil rights abuse of the Latino community in New Orleans. Two victims were seeking a stay of deportation. Unfortunately, Wilmer Irias-Palmer was deported. However, yesterday, Yestel Antonio Velasquez was released from custody and granted a one-year deferral of his removal.
From the New Orleans Workers' Center:
We have great news to share: with your support, we have forced ICE to back down and protected Yestel Velazquez from retaliatory deportation.
ICE is releasing Yestel from detention and granting him a new 1-year stay of removal, while the investigation of the racial profiling-based raids he helped expose continues.
This is an important victory against the racial profiling-based raids and a victory against retaliation. It gives us the energy to redouble our efforts to end the raids, and to win a strong new policy that protects defenders of civil and labor rights as part of a broad administrative reform.
We are also reminded that this victory is bittersweet, as Congress of Day Laborer member Wilmer Irias-Palma, also arrested in the raid and whose partner Carla spoke at last Mondays briefing, was deported last Friday.
This situation shows why a new policy, administered by USCIS, is so important. Yestel and Wilmer should never have been arrested in a racial profiling-based raid. And once they exposed the civil rights violations, he should have been immediately released. Instead, it took a strong coalition of labor, civil rights, immigrant rights, and faith leaders—standing with an organized community—to force ICE to follow its own rules.
Civil rights are always defended by organized communities. By standing together, we protected Yestel—and we protected the ability of the Congress of Day Laborers to continue its monitoring and defense of civil and labor rights in New Orleans. Our fight must also continue so that Wilmers deportation was not in vein.
We look forward to sharing with you the next phase of our civil and labor rights defense program, and working with you to make sure immigration enforcement does not interfere with civil and labor rights.
Right now, we’re on our way to the South Louisiana Correctional Center with Yestel’s partner Zunilda and members of the Congress of Day Laborers to pick up Yestel!
The New Orleans Workers’ Center and the Congress of Day Laborers, New Orleans