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Despite Untreated Cancer Diagnosis, Government Insists on Deporting Seyni Diagne to Mauritania TODAY

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Despite Untreated Cancer Diagnosis, Government Insists on Deporting Seyni Diagne to Mauritania TODAY

Lawyers Filed Emergency Stay this Morning at BIA

A recent article in The Atlantic and the arrest of anti-slavery leader Biram Dah Abeid by the Mauritanian government have drawn fresh attention to the human rights abuses taking place in this nation today, and the danger Black Mauritanians face if deported by the Trump Administration.  

According to the U.S. government, though, seventy-nine have already been deported this fiscal year (up from 4 in FY 2015).  Earlier this week, attorneys Yolanda Rondon with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and Julie Nemecek of Columbus obtained an emergency stay of deportation from the Board of Immigration Appeals in the cases of Ousmane Sy and Abou Diallo, two Ohio men who had been scheduled for deportation on an ICE charter flight.  

Last night, Nemecek learned that another Mauritanian man who faces arrest, abuse, and slavery if returned, Seyni Diagne, is scheduled to be deported this morning on a commercial flight originating in Cincinnati.  We also learned that Diagne has kidney cancer and Hepatitis B, needs surgery for his cancer, and has not received medical treatment for these conditions while in ICE custody these past two months.

Rondon has filed another emergency stay with the Board of Immigration Appeals in the Diagne case today, and is awaiting a result.  

Julie Nemecek, lawyer for Seyni Diagne, said: “ICE’s actions in deporting Mr. Diagne are not only inhumane, but also illegal.  This is a clear indication that the Columbus ERO Office is acting out of racism and animus, not the interests of fairness and justice.”

After years of living in the United States under orders of supervision, due to the political situation back home, Black Mauritanians are being deported to a country that doesn’t even consider them to be citizens and has the highest rate of slavery worldwide according to the CIA World Handbook.  Conditions in Mauritania have not improved; in fact, the arrest of abolitionist Biram Dah Abeid earlier this month shows they remain as dangerous as ever.   

UndocuBlack Network’s National Policy and Advocacy Director, Patrice Lawrence, said: “This administration is cruel and evil. Their actions are unconscionable. We demand that ICE immediately release Diagne so that he may continue fighting for his life. We have seen a trend in the targeting and deportation of Black immigrants, and we will not be silent.”

Yolanda Rondon, Senior Staff Attorney with American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said: “We oppose the mass deportation and anti-immigrant agenda by this Administration. We have an obligation to protect all persons who will face harm, mistreatment, persecution or torture if returned to their home country. The administration’s removal of persons to Mauritania under temporary travel documents must stop, especially persons of ethnic minority groups. These individuals are at heightened risk for harm because they do not have official citizenship, and the necessary rights and protections that come with citizenship.”

“The U.S. government is about to deport a man with untreated cancer to a country he fled twenty years ago, and one where he faces grave harm.  This should be unimaginable,” said Lynn Tramonte, Deportation Defense Coordinator at America’s Voice.  “The fact that ICE is insisting on deporting Seyni Diagne right now shows how completely craven their zeal for deportation has become.”

Currently, around twenty to twenty-five Mauritanians are being held in detention facilities across Ohio.  It is unknown how many are detained nationwide.

For more on the political situation in Mauritania, see this report from Amnesty International USA.  For US deportation policy to this nation, see this from America’s Voice.