Detainees from Cameroon, Congo, Haiti moved out rapidly, including some who are witnesses to DHS abuses.
There appears to be an increased push by the Department of Homeland Security and the Trump Administration to remove Black immigrants.
A group of detained Cameroonian hunger strikers and protestors, as well as detained Congolese, were deported Tuesday despite the objections from human rights groups and Members of Congress. Advocates who work with Haitians seeking asylum in the U.S. also report that hundreds have been deported on at least five flights in the past ten days.
In the case of the African immigrants, migrants from Cameroon and Congo were rushed onto a plane in Texas. They included women who allegedly underwent possible sterilization at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Georgia, where a whistleblower’s complaint shed light on medical abuses.
Others on the flight Tuesday included Cameroonian men who are part of a formal civil rights complaint lodged by Cameroon American Council (CAC), Detention Watch Network (DWN), Haitian Bridge Alliance, Freedom for Immigrants, Louisiana Advocates for Immigrants in Detention, Natchez Network, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and Families for Freedom with the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties alleging violations of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment The complaint cites coerced signatures on deportation documents, falsified Cameroonian official travel documents and physical brutality while in detention. Reports on Wednesday indicate some or all of the men who were on the flight and are parties to the complaint were removed from the flight at the last minute.
Both the Cameroonian men involved in the civil rights complaint and the women who were held at ICDC could be key witnesses as inquiries move forward. This, and previous acts of civil disobedience by Cameroonian detainees, may explain why they were selected for removal in the first place. Regardless, the security situation facing asylum seekers deported to Cameroon remains dangerous, especially for Anglophone deportees and the deportations are taking place despite the country being on lockdown for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, advocates estimate that as many as 500 Haitians migrants have been deported on five flights over the last week or so. These deportation flights primarily involve Haitian asylum seekers detained along the U.S.-Mexico border who are being deported swiftly without a hearing for their asylum claims. These include families with small children.
The following is a statement from Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice:
For Trump, issues of migration are always drenched in racism. This is especially true for Black immigrants. To Trump and his henchmen, all asylum claims are frivolous and black migrants are simply trying to flee the ‘huts’ in their ‘shithole countries.’
U.S. laws, international treaties, the spread of COVID-19 through detention facilities and via deportation flights, and the violence deportees may face when they are sent back, don’t matter to the President and his lackeys. Trump is concerned only with keeping poor people out, especially poor black people.
Trump is cruel for cruelty’s sake. Americans have watched as Trump separated children from their families, ended DACA and TPS for long-term U.S. residents, and diverted money appropriated for disaster relief and military families to build a ridiculous border wall.
Beyond the base of supporters who are already on board with Trump, his cruelty and his failures on immigration are working against Trump. Polling indicates swing state voters see immigration as a bigger reason to vote against Trump than for him.
Trump’s brand of law and order is to deport complainants and witnesses, violate U.S. asylum law by fast-tracking deportations without a hearing, disregard the health and safety of detainees and encourage DHS and its illegally appointed leadership to run amok.