Group calls for better treatment of immigrants at OPP
Chris Miller Reporting
Immigrant laborers today called on the New Orleans City Council to support them in ending a federal detainment practice they say sends people to jail for months at a time.
At issue is the government's practice of "ICE detainer," when Immigration and Customs Enforcement asks local authorities to detain suspected illegal immigrants. Chief public defender Derwyn Bunton says because the federal government does not compensate the sheriff's office for those detainees, "it increases unnecessary time in jail which the city is on the hook for."
The council also heard from several immigrant laborers who said they had been detained sometimes for more than a month, with no ability to post bond.
"I had a family conflict with my husband," immigrant Delmy Palenica told the council, via an interpreter, "and I was taken to jail for 45 days."
Palenica was one of several day laborers and other immigrants who told the council of the experiences being held in Orleans Parish Prison for extended periods of time. Members of the coalition said all too often, ICE asks for detainers on immigrants who turn out to be properly documented.
The activists told the council that New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, DC and other large cities have enacted policies to refuse so-called "ICE detainer" requests from the federal government.
The council unanimously approved a resolution disapproving of the practice.