Late last year, the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice uncovered a pilot program, the Criminal Alien Removal Initiative, reportedly implemented in and around New Orleans by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The program is designed to go after undocumented immigrants with serious criminal records. An official with ICE is quoted in the report as saying “ICE only conducts targeted enforcement. The Criminal Alien Removal Initiative teams go to a pre-selected location, looking for that individual.”
But the immigration advocacy group contends the program has moved well beyond that mission and has become a “stop and frisk” program for immigrants.
The group wrote in a report that “ICE squads are conducting indiscriminate raids at apartment complexes, grocery stores, laundromats, Bible study groups, and parks — often working with local law enforcement — based purely on racial profiling.”
Stories in the report include an allegedly race-based raid of a grocery store on Broad Street, where ICE agents allegedly “kicked a Latino man in the knees until he was bleeding through his pants,” and a traffic stop on Canal Street where an agent allegedly admitted he stopped the subject because he appeared to be Latino.
In August, The New York Times editorial board said the New Orleans program shows how the Department of Homeland Security, working with local law enforcement, “has vastly increased the numbers of low-priority minor offenders and noncriminals it sweeps up.”