Wife of man suing ICE, Detention Center and the Chicago Police Department to speak at May Day Rally to demand justice for her husband, call out the City of Chicago for sharing erroneous data with ICE that led to a violent immigration raid and the detention of her husband

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For Immediate Release

Date: May 1, 2017

Sejal Zota, Legal Director, NIPNLG, 617-227-9727 ext. 108, (szota@nipnlg.org)
Sheila A. Bedi, MacArthur Justice Center, 312-503-2492 (sheila.bedi@law.northwestern.edu)
Tania Unzueta, Mijente & OCAD, 773-387-3186 (tania@mijente.net)
Vanessa del Valle, MacArthur Justice Center, 312-503-5932 (vanessa.delvalle@law.northwestern.edu)

WHAT: Ms. Celene Adame, wife of Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez, who is filing lawsuit today, to speak at the May 1st rally and press conference at Union Park. Ms. Adame and attorneys representing her husband in the lawsuit will be available for interviews after the press conference and during the rally.

WHEN: Monday May 1st, 12:30 PM

WHERE: Union Park, 1501 West Randolph

WHO: Ms. Adame will be joining a broad coalition of organizations speaking regarding the May 1st rally. The speakers at the press conference include: Ms. Celene Adame, Organized Communities Against Deportations; U.S. Senator Dick Durbin; Tania Unzueta, Mijente; Lawrence Benito, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and other community leaders. After the press conference Ms. Adame will join a series of speakers at Union Park to rally the crowd before the march begins.

CHICAGO – The Chicago Police Department’s sharing of its so-called “Gang Database” with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) triggered a nightmarish chain of events that left Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez imprisoned, in severe physical pain and mental anguish, and fighting deportation, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed on Monday.

Catalan-Ramirez, is a devoted father and a mechanic who has never belonged to a Chicago street gang. Despite this fact, CPD mistakenly labelled him as a gang member and conveyed this false information to ICE. ICE relied on this erroneous information during one of its March 2017 “Gang Ops” during which ICE targeted community members who have alleged gang ties.

In January 2017, in his Back of the Yards neighborhood, Catalan-Ramirez was a bystander during a drive by shooting that left him with multiple gunshot wounds. These injuries left him with fractures to his skull and shoulder, a traumatic brain injury and partial paralysis. Catalan-Ramirez has spent the months since the shooting in rehabilitation with the assistance of his wife Celene Adame.

On March 27, around six ICE agents entered Catalan-Ramirez’ family’s apartment without a warrant, slammed him to the floor and handcuffed him – aggravating his preexisting injuries, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

“I saw the immigration agents slam my husband to the floor while we told them he was injured, but they still hurt him and took him to detention,” explained Ms. Adame. “There needs to be consequences for everyone responsible for hurting our family, for my husband, and so that it doesn’t happen to others. That’s why today we are here marching and why we are filing the lawsuit,” she concluded.

Photo courtesy of OCAD

The suit alleges violations of unreasonable search and seizure, and due process protections in the U.S. Constitution. The suit also alleges that the manner in which CPD gathers and disseminates false information about gang membership violated the Illinois Civil Rights Act, which prohibits racial and ethnic discrimination. In addition to CPD and ICE agents, defendants include the City of Chicago; Ricardo Wong, ICE’s Chicago Field Office Director; McHenry County; and several officials working at the McHenry County Jail, which contracts with ICE to imprison immigration detainees awaiting resolution of their cases.

While in the McHenry County Jail, Catalan-Ramirez has been denied needed medical care for his injuries and spends most of his day isolated in a cell. Because of the lack of medical care, he risks living for the rest of his life with partial paralysis.

Catalan-Ramirez is represented by the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and supported by Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) and Mijente, two organizations that organize against harsh immigration enforcement tactics, and who have been advocating for an expansion of Chicago’s “Sanctuary” status by removing the gang database, amongst other reforms.

“Wilmer’s case is an example of how local city policies, such as the Gang database, put immigrant communities in the path of Trump’s deportation machine,” said Xanat Sobrevilla, organizer with OCAD. “If the City of Chicago truly wants to be a sanctuary city where immigrants can seek safe refuge, it should stop sharing its Gang Database with ICE and inform ICE the database is rife with inaccuracies and is not a legitimate law enforcement tool,” she added.

"The injuries suffered by Mr. Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez exemplify the extreme level of ICE abuse in raids carried out by this Administration. …These rogue ICE raids must cease."
–Sejal Zota, Legal Director, NIPNLG

“Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez’s rights have been trampled on and his physical and mental well-being is in danger because of conditions in the ICE-approved detention facility where he is now held,” said Vanessa del Valle, an attorney with the MacArthur Justice Center and Clinical Assistant Professor of Law at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. “ICE exacerbated his pre-existing injuries; traumatized him, his wife and children; and left him with severe injuries that could last a lifetime. Now, his condition worsens with each passing day.”

“The past 100 days of the Trump Administration have meant mass raids and deportations for immigrant communities across the country,” said Sejal Zota, Legal Director, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. “The injuries suffered by Mr. Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez exemplify the extreme level of ICE abuse in raids carried out by this Administration. Mr. Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez is a long-time resident of Chicago, beloved father of young U.S. Citizen children, and recent gun-shot victim with severe medical complications. It is clear that he belongs back with his family and community in Chicago where he can receive critical medical care. These rogue ICE raids must cease.”

Read the complaint »
Read the amended complaint »

About the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) is a national non-profit organization that provides technical assistance and support to community-based immigrant organizations, legal practitioners, and all advocates working to advance the rights of noncitizens. (nipnlg.org)

About Mijente and Expanded Sanctuary
Mijente is a national political home for Latinx and Chicanx grassroots organizing that comes out of the Not One More Deportation Campaign. The campaign to expand sanctuary aims to push for policies that create ‘Sanctuaries’ in our cities for immigrant and U.S. born people of color. In Chicago, the campaign is in partnership with OCAD and Black Youth Project 100. (mijente.net)

About Organized Communities Against Deportations
Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) is an undocumented-led group that organizes against the deportation and criminalization of Black, Brown and immigrant communities in Chicago and surrounding areas. (http://organizedcommunities.org)

About the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center
Founded in 1985, the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center is one of the premier civil rights law firms in the United States. The MacArthur Justice Center has offices in Chicago, St. Louis, New Orleans, and Oxford, MS. For additional information, visit law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/macarthur Follow us on Twitter (@MacArthrJustice) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/macarthurjusticecenter) for timely updates.