Univ. of Minnesota, others, file lawsuit to block deportation of Somalis on aborted ICE flight

Remember the news we reported here, here and here about that flight filled with Somalis being deported from the US.

Update: Rep Keith Ellison on the bandwagon now too, no surprise.

Well, they are back on US soil and a large cadre of lawyers are working overtime to see that they don’t get deported anytime soon.

From CNN:

(CNN) – 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.

Rebecca Sharpless_crop

U. of Miami law professor Rebecca Sharpless contends that Somalia is too violent to send them back. Then please tell us why so many Somalis (who are supposed to be refugees here) travel back and forth to Somalia regularly? Sharpless bio is here:  //www.law.miami.edu/faculty/rebecca-sharpless

The order signed Wednesday 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.

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

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 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.

More here. A hearing is scheduled for January 2nd.

I have a hard time believing that ICE agents acted in the way they are portrayed in the lawsuit. And, there is something very strange about the decision to fly back to the US. Where did they get a rested flight crew for that trip?



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