Somalis mistreated during US deportation effort, lawsuit alleges

A Florida judge has issued a temporary stay of deportation for 92 Somali immigrants who, according to a ...

Posted: Dec 21, 2017 7:43 AM
Updated: Dec 21, 2017 7:43 AM

A Florida judge has issued a temporary stay of deportation for 92 Somali immigrants who, according to a class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday, were subjected to "inhumane conditions and egregious abuse" during a failed deportation effort by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The order signed by District Judge Darrin Gayles prohibits the Somalis involved in the case from being deported and requires ICE to provide medical treatment for any injuries they might have sustained.

The deportees boarded an ICE-chartered plane bound for Somalia on December 7

The deportees' plane sat on a runway in Senegal for nearly a day, then returned to the US

ICE said power and air conditioning remained on, and food and water were sufficient

In the filing, seven plaintiffs representing the Somalis allege deplorable conditions during their nearly two-day deportation journey.

The deportees boarded an ICE-chartered plane in Louisiana bound for Somalia on December 7. However, the plane made it only as far as Dakar, Senegal, where it then sat on the runway for almost a day before returning to the US.

In a statement at the time, ICE said the plane returned to the US because of logistical issues and the flight would be rescheduled.

"The aircraft, including the detainees and crew on board, remained parked at the airport to allow the relief crew time to rest. During this time, the aircraft maintained power and air conditioning, and was stocked with sufficient food and water," the statement reads.

The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs were shackled "at their wrists, waist and legs" for the entire trip.

"The guards did not loosen the shackles, even when the deportees told them that the shackles were painful because they were too tight, that their arms and legs were swollen and were bruised," the lawsuit alleges.

It also describes abuses by the ICE officers and lack of access to adequate bathroom facilities.

"When the plane's toilets overfilled with human waste, some of the detainees were left to urinate into bottles or on themselves. ICE agents wrapped some who protested, or just stood up to ask a question, in full-body restraints. ICE agents kicked, struck, or dragged detainees down the aisle of the plane, and subjected some to verbal abuse and threats," the lawsuit details.

ICE did not immediately responded to a request for comment.

The suit was filed jointly by the University of Minnesota Law School, the University of Miami School of Law, Legal Aid Service of Broward County and Americans for Immigrant Justice. It asks the court to reopen the immigrants' removal cases, arguing that deporting them to Somalia would endanger their lives. It also asks the court to prevent their deportation until they are able to seek treatment for injuries sustained during the December 7 flight and to ensure that abuses will not take place on another flight.

Rebecca Sharpless, a professor at the University of Miami School of Law who is director of the school's immigration clinic, said that due to the escalation of violence in Somalia by the group al-Shabaab, as well as far-reaching news stories about the deportation flight, the individuals would be in danger if they returned.

The temporary stay signed by Gayles also orders that the Somali immigrants have "reasonable access to their attorneys."

The hearing is scheduled for January 2.

West Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 75°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 75°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 73°
Fowler
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 75°
Williamsport
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 75°
Crawfordsville
Partly Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 73°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 73°
Delphi
Partly Cloudy
76° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 78°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
76° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 78°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 75°
A magnificent Monday with sunshine and mild temperatures
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 771299

Reported Deaths: 14005
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1059471808
Lake570611031
Allen43193700
Hamilton37458426
St. Joseph37420568
Elkhart29819471
Tippecanoe23584231
Vanderburgh23431405
Porter19616327
Johnson18899394
Hendricks18168323
Clark13623199
Madison13604348
Vigo12908256
Monroe12626178
LaPorte12594225
Delaware11183198
Howard10747237
Kosciusko9810124
Hancock8799150
Bartholomew8296157
Warrick8150157
Floyd8072183
Grant7397181
Wayne7254201
Boone7236105
Morgan6948143
Marshall6358117
Dubois6301118
Cass6110112
Dearborn604078
Noble603590
Henry5971111
Jackson518677
Shelby512898
Lawrence4961127
Gibson467296
Montgomery461392
Clinton458455
DeKalb458485
Harrison456977
Huntington421382
Whitley418645
Steuben412861
Miami407273
Jasper402556
Knox393191
Putnam386862
Wabash371684
Adams355356
Ripley352771
Jefferson347187
White340954
Daviess3098100
Wells304881
Greene295985
Decatur293493
Fayette287464
Posey285435
Scott283458
LaGrange278472
Clay276049
Washington255637
Randolph248283
Jennings240449
Spencer239731
Fountain237250
Starke230859
Owen224759
Sullivan222943
Fulton209545
Jay203432
Carroll198822
Orange192756
Perry191939
Vermillion181944
Rush178627
Tipton173848
Franklin173035
Parke156816
Pike143434
Blackford138232
Pulaski124048
Newton123736
Benton110515
Brown106443
Crawford106316
Martin92715
Warren88015
Switzerland8488
Union73710
Ohio58411
Unassigned0429

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events