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October 27, 2014

Is New Orleans Trying to Deport Undocumented Workers Now That the Rebuilding Is Over?
By Alexia Fernández Campbell and Mauro Whiteman

Barraza has seen immigration agents raid his apartment complex in the suburb of Metairie three times in the past year and a half. The second time, he and his wife were unloading groceries from their car when half a dozen agents surrounded them, guns drawn. They handcuffed Barraza and took his wallet before he could say a word, he said. Agents then roughed up his stepson, an American citizen, who had come outside to see what was happening. The 16-year-old boy had refused to go back inside when agents ordered him to, so they threw him against the wall and handcuffed him, Barraza said. The squad eventually released the boy and Barraza's wife, who has Temporary Protected Status, but took Barraza to a van to scan his fingerprints. A deportation order popped up in the system, so they took him away. "Honestly, I never thought it would happen to me," said Barraza, whose deportation was delayed for six months with the help of the Congress of Day Laborers. "I never thought someone would separate me from my daughters." Barraza's deportation has since been delayed twice, and he plans to request another six6-month delay before his January deadline. The day laborers group has helped stay the removal of more than 100 people caught up the raids, most of whom have American children, staffers said. Such deportation relief is rare in Louisiana. The state's immigration judges show little leniency compared to other states. So far in fiscal 2014, they've ordered deportations in 75 percent of the cases they hear in court, according to data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. Only Georgia has a higher percentage of removal orders.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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