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
Scattered Clouds
89° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 93°
Kokomo
Scattered Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 91°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 86°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 86°
Williamsport
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 87°
Crawfordsville
Broken Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 85°
Frankfort
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 87°
Delphi
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 87°
Monticello
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 87°
Logansport
Clear
87° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 93°
Hotter & More Humid with Some Storms, Then a Cool-Down
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 78632

Reported Deaths: 3113
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16437734
Lake7952283
Elkhart505191
Allen4161164
St. Joseph376683
Hamilton3033104
Vanderburgh212215
Hendricks1978109
Johnson1819119
Cass18139
Porter141539
Clark135250
Tippecanoe129312
Madison106266
LaPorte96730
Howard94865
Kosciusko87812
Bartholomew86747
Floyd86150
Marshall80523
Monroe78432
Vigo77913
Delaware77752
Dubois72912
Noble71729
Boone71646
Hancock70239
Warrick61230
Jackson6075
Shelby57328
LaGrange57110
Grant53330
Dearborn52828
Morgan50135
Henry46720
Clinton4624
Wayne41010
White38411
Montgomery36721
Harrison36524
Lawrence35927
Decatur35332
Putnam3318
Daviess29620
Scott28110
Miami2792
Jasper2662
Greene25934
Franklin25116
Gibson2464
DeKalb2444
Jennings23312
Ripley2218
Steuben2173
Carroll2135
Fayette2097
Perry18913
Orange18824
Posey1840
Starke1817
Wabash1805
Wells1802
Fulton1752
Jefferson1752
Knox1711
Sullivan1631
Whitley1626
Tipton15516
Washington1531
Clay1505
Spencer1403
Randolph1345
Huntington1303
Adams1242
Newton12110
Owen1131
Rush1004
Jay970
Pulaski841
Brown762
Fountain762
Pike670
Blackford662
Benton640
Ohio636
Vermillion620
Switzerland590
Parke581
Martin530
Crawford500
Union420
Warren251
Unassigned0207

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