SEVERE WX : Heat Advisory View Alerts

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.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 398929

Reported Deaths: 32251
CountyConfirmedDeaths
New York City21777723224
Nassau421222188
Suffolk417991985
Westchester351541431
Rockland13679668
Orange10806484
Erie7596639
Dutchess4250152
Monroe4046273
Onondaga3029188
Albany2175121
Ulster184586
Oneida177698
Sullivan146048
Putnam134463
Niagara130790
Schenectady84437
Broome76658
Saratoga58217
Rensselaer58030
Columbia48237
Madison36817
Ontario28633
Orleans28654
Warren27333
Steuben27141
Greene26318
Fulton26224
Washington24714
Genesee2445
St. Lawrence2272
Oswego2103
Wayne1933
Herkimer1814
Tompkins1800
Chenango1595
Tioga15024
Chautauqua1497
Chemung1472
Livingston1378
Cattaraugus1306
Cayuga1222
Montgomery1214
Clinton1064
Wyoming985
Jefferson940
Delaware914
Otsego865
Seneca710
Allegany641
Schoharie600
Cortland540
Essex490
Yates486
Franklin330
Lewis310
Schuyler130
Hamilton60
Unassigned00
Utica
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 95°
Oneonta
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 85°
Herkimer
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 95°
Thendara
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 95°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Click here to learn more about A Healthier Mohawk Valley
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
Senior Send-Off brought to you by Herkimer College
Menu 2 Go list of takeout dinners & fish fries
WKTV Golf Card - Under 150 left