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Thu May 2, 2013

Local Officials Pressed To Stop Deportation Of Undocumented Workers

Congress of Day Laborers spokeswoman Jacinta Gonzalez and New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell say local agencies should not be helping in the deportation of undocumented workers.

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The Congress of Day Laborers is pressing local elected officials to investigate reports that undocumented workers are being detained and deported. The complaints center on the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Jacinta Gonzalez organized the May Day demonstration on the steps of City Hall to mark International Workers Day.

She says local police and the sheriff have said publicly that people won’t be detained just because they’re undocumented, but she says families keep reporting their loved ones are being detained and are in danger of being deported.

“We do know that people are being stopped and getting ICE holds. But we’re also happy that we’re working with the sheriff to try to find a solution to that. So we know that the council has committed to take next steps in the next couple of weeks. And we hope the sheriff will take the same initiative.” 

Sheriff Marlin Gusman said in a statement yesterday there are no inmates being held at the jail for immigration status, but undocumented suspects linked to criminal charges will be jailed.

New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell told the crowd of about 100 people that families should not be torn apart over immigration matters.

“We definitely need to get to the bottom of what is happening on the ground and so families are continuing to be impacted. They are being placed on ICE holds and that’s unacceptable.” 

New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas has said it’s not department policy to ask about immigration status.

That, he said, is a federal matter.  

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