Cuban man deported despite traffic-blocking protest

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Cuban man whose pending deportation sparked a traffic-stopping protest this week in New Orleans has been sent back to his homeland.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement service said Yoel Alonso Leal was returned Thursday.

Leal had sought asylum in the U.S., claiming he had been beaten by Cuban authorities for disagreeing with the government and faced more mistreatment if returned. His attorneys also said he was too ill to be deported.

A federal appeals court this week refused to intervene.

Several people who supported Leal briefly blocked rush hour traffic in New Orleans on Monday to protest his deportation. They were arrested.

Leal's lawyer says his client is also a class-action plaintiff in a lawsuit against ICE over the detention of asylum seekers currently living in the South.