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Man injured in Hard Rock collapse detained by immigration authorities

Worker hurt in Hard Rock Hotel collapse detained

A man injured in the New Orleans Hard Rock Hotel collapse is being detained by immigration authorities, an attorney representing him told CBS News on Saturday. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson Bryan Cox confirmed to CBS News that Delmer Joel Ramirez-Palma, a native of Honduras, has been in their custody since Monday.

Ramirez is one of five people who filed a lawsuit in Orleans Parish Civil District Court seeking damages for injuries suffered in the collapse.

According to Ramirez's attorney, Daryl Gray, Ramirez is one of the 20 people injured on October 19 when a large portion of the Hard Rock Hotel that was under construction collapsed. Three people were killed.

Gray said Ramirez's family reached out to him after Ramirez was taken into custody.

In a statement, ICE said Ramirez was taken into custody by the U.S. Border Patrol on Monday at the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans East after an encounter with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A federal immigration judge had ordered Ramirez be deported to Honduras in February 2016, according to ICE.

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Emergency officials are on the scene of a partial building collapse at the Hard Rock Hotel construction site downtown New Orleans, Louisiana on October 12, 2019 Getty

Gray said it is unclear to Ramirez's attorneys why he is being held. He is currently being detained at La Salle Detention Facility in Jena. 

Ramirez was seen by a physician while in ICE custody sometime between Friday and Saturday night. Attorneys were also able to make face to face contact with him and discuss his case. His attorneys said they will be pursuing all measures to stay his deportation moving forward and believe he has not yet exhausted all his options.

Gray told NOLA.com that Ramirez's arrest was set in motion after he gave an interview to a Spanish-language television station. The news of Ramirez's arrest was first reported by the outlet. He is also seeking compensation for Ramirez's injuries.

The lawsuit was filed Friday on behalf of Ramirez and four other workers at the hotel alleging a failure to provide safe working conditions. Gray told CBS News there were many other workers injured who are undocumented and afraid to come forward out of fear of legal fallout.

Annabelle Hanflig contributed reporting.

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