Claims of Retribution by ICE Collapse Under the Weight of the Facts



Days after the partial collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown New Orleans, attorneys held a press conference to announce a lawsuit on behalf of five workers allegedly injured at the construction site. According to personal injury attorney Daryl Gray, Delmer Ramirez-Palma was detained by immigration authorities two days after speaking “about the tragic events” to a Spanish-language station.

“He is currently detained. He is injured. And we are fighting his deportation,” said Gray, who claimed his deportation symbolizes “the underbelly of America” and fighting it is “part of a new civil rights movement.”

Angela Young, a spokesperson for the law firm representing the immigrant workers, told CNN that Gray and other lawyers “weren’t able to talk to him to see if he received medical treatment” after his initial arrest and had not been seen by a doctor. Gray also claimed in his Oct. 18 press conference that Ramirez “needed surgery” due to the injuries suffered in the collapse.

Not surprisingly, the mainstream media bought and re-sold the story of an “injured worker” being victimized by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that the lawyers were selling – even if the facts proved it was pure fiction.  

There is one point of agreement between the lawyers and immigration officials – that Ramirez is a Honduran national currently held in ICE detention. An ICE statement noted Ramirez was ordered deported back to Honduras by a federal immigration judge in February 2016. It is unclear whether the other plaintiffs also are in the U.S. illegally.

Bryan Cox, a regional ICE spokesman, said the charge of retributive arrest and denial of medical treatment by the lawyers “simply false.”

“These are just additional examples of falsehoods told about this agency that irresponsibly spread fear through misinformation,” Cox told CNN.

In fact, it was not ICE who initially detained Ramirez on Oct. 14, but agents from U.S. Border Patrol called in by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers. Days after the accident in which he was so injured as to require surgery (as his lawyers claim), Ramirez spotted fishing without a license at the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge and when asked for identification, he gave USFW officers “foreign citizenship documentation,” which prompted them to call Border Patrol, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

That brings up a few questions.

How did Ramirez, whom his lawyers claim was so injured as to now need surgery, manage to travel all the way to a refuge to go fishing?

What are the chances that the Forest Service officers were aware that Ramirez talked about the “tragic events” to a Spanish-language station?

Or how would they know, until they encountered him, of the standing deportation order and his illegal status?

The facts of the case are becoming clearer each day, including the fact that the real “underbelly of America” are the personal injury lawyers who claim to be seeking justice when all they really want is a quick buck and the elitist corporate media who put fake news over a real search for truth.

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Jennifer joined FAIR as Web Content Writer in 2017 and brings to the role extensive communications and media background. She began her career as a policy research analyst on multiple national and state political campaigns before entering journalism. In addition to spending over a decade writing for several broadcast and print news outlets, Jennifer directed communications strategy for a member of Congress and a military nonprofit.

FAIR blogs can now be found on our main site at https://www.fairus.org/blog