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Worker Who Warned of Hotel Collapse Facing Deportation

November 26, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

NEW ORLEANS, La.—The New Orleans construction worker who warned his bosses just before a fatal building collapse last month is facing imminent deportation. Delmer Joel Ramírez Palma, a 38-year-old metal worker on the future Hard Rock hotel, had complained about the 18-story structure shaking, uncured concrete, and the building not being level on Oct. 11, the day before the collapse that killed three people. On Oct. 14, Ramírez Palma, recovering from injuries he’d sustained, went fishing in a nearby wildlife refuge—and was arrested after federal Fish and Wildlife agents called the Border Patrol after finding out he didn’t have a valid driver’s license. His wife, Tania Bueso, told the Washington Post that when he called to say he was being arrested, she heard Border Patrol agents in the background say, “This is the fucking guy that is a survivor of the fucking Hard Rock building collapse.” “It definitely looks like they’re targeting him,” said Homero Lopez Jr., one of Ramírez Palma’s lawyers. Ramírez Palma, a Honduran immigrant who has lived in the U.S. for 18 years and has three children, has been moved to a holding center in Alexandria, La., the last stop before deportation. Read more

November 26, 2019

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