ICE Deports ‘Crucial Witness’ in New Orleans Hard Rock Hotel Collapse – New York Magazine

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On October 13, in the southwest corner of the French Quarter in New Orleans, the upper eight floors of a Hard Rock Hotel construction site collapsed, killing three and wounding 30. As the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the New Orleans Police Department investigate the cause of the partial collapse — and as developers seek to limit their liability — a construction worker who reported safety issues on the site on multiple occasions has been deported by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

On November 29, 38-year-old Delmer Joel Ramirez Palma, who was injured in the collapse when he jumped from the eighth to the seventh floor, was deported to his native Honduras. Though ICE asserts that Ramirez Palma’s deportation was in-process prior to October, his immigration lawyer Homero Lopez described the timing as “definitely suspicious.” Two days after the hotel’s terrifying fall, Ramirez Palma was ticketed by US Fish and Wildlife Service officers in a wildlife refuge north of New Orleans for fishing without a license, before being turned over to Border Patrol for arrest. (His deportation was first ordered by a federal judge in 2016, but he was able to stay because he proved that his removal would cause harm to a U.S. citizen, his son.) In a complaint filed with the Department of Labor, another lawyer for Ramirez Palma wrote that on the day of his arrest, he was told not to attend a company meeting in which his employer discussed financial compensation for the accident.