Honduran man injured in New Orleans hotel collapse “detained for deportation”

One of the workers injured in the fatal collapse of a Hard Rock Hotel project in New Orleans has been detained by immigration authorities after he spoke about his experience with a television station, his attorneys said on Friday.

Delmer Joel Ramirez Palma, who is from Honduras, was one of five workers who filed a lawsuit at Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Friday to seek damages for injuries they said they suffered in the collapse, which occurred on 12 October. They claimed that the project failed as a result of  inadequate materials and supports.

Jeremy Pichon, Eric Wright and Daryl Gray, Ramirez’s lawyers, said he requires surgery for his injuries, but had not received the necessary medical care at the immigration detention centre near Oakdale, Louisiana, where he was being held.

Gray told CBS News other undocumented workers were injured, but have been afraid to come forward.

Ramirez was arrested by federal Customs and Border Patrol agents in New Orleans East on Monday, two days after the collapse that killed three workers and sent dozens to hospital.

In a statement, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said Ramirez was taken into custody by the US Border Patrol on Monday, 14 October, at the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans East after an encounter with the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

A federal immigration judge had ordered Ramirez be deported to Honduras in February 2016, according to ICE.

Floors six through eight of the planned 18-storey building are thought to have failed. The hotel was being built by Metairie, Louisiana-headquartered Citadel Builders LLC for real estate firm Kailas Companies, the development’s owner.

Image: The collapsed hotel (Image courtesy of New Orleans Fire Department)

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