Deported Somali immigrants file suit against U.S. for inhumane conditions during removal flight
- The 92 deported individuals were reportedly subjected to physical and psychological abuse during a 48-hour trip intended for Mogadishu, including physical shackling, medication withholding, and lack of restroom access.
- After landing in Dakar, Senegal, the flight was held for nearly 24 hours before eventually returning to the U.S., with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials denying incident.
- The lawsuit seeks to reopen their deportation cases and ensure the future treatment and security of the plaintiffs, with some having lived in the U.S. for decades and fearing retribution by the militant group al-Shabaab given the publicity surrounding the flight.
“Somalis were shackled for nearly 48 hours on failed US deportation flight” (The Guardian | December 2017)
“Somalis faced ‘inhumane’ abuse on US deportation flight” (Al Jazeera | December 2017)
“Somalis faced ‘slave ship conditions’ on failed deportation flight” (Public Radio International, via USA Today | December 2017)
Spike in irregular border crossings into Canada comes as asylum-seekers bypass unfriendly U.S.
- Asylum-seekers from countries like Ghana, Somalia, and Djibouti have endured subzero winter conditions in an attempt to cross the U.S.-Canada border, with 2017 set to outpace the last few years in irregular crossings.
- The Canadian government has made it a point to distinguish itself from its southern neighbor, welcoming refugees officially and overseeing a popular refugee sponsorship program.
- Many asylum-seekers have avoided official border crossing ports because of a “safe country” agreement between Canada and the U.S. that denies entry to refugees traveling from the U.S., now complicated by the Trump administration’s active refugee ban.
“Why So Many Refugees Are Risking Their Lives To Cross The Border Into Canada” (BuzzFeed News | February 2017)
“Canada PM Trudeau pressured to tackle influx of asylum seekers over US border” (The Guardian | February 2017)
“New numbers show spike in asylum seekers crossing from U.S. to Manitoba” (CBC News | January 2017)
(Image Credit: Lyle Stafford/Reuters, via The Guardian)
New anti-immigrant wave rolls over South Africa, leading to violence and arrests
- Pretoria stood at the center of a new wave of anti-immigrant sentiment in the country, where anti-immigrant protesters took part in marches and others looted at least 20 immigrants’ shops.
- At least 136 people were arrested during a march after police used tear gas and other dispersal tactics.
- Protesters have accused immigrants of bringing crime and sex work to South Africa as the nation experiences high levels of unemployment.
“South African police break up anti-immigrant protests” (Reuters | February 2017)
“Pretoria brought to a standstill during anti-immigrant march” (News24 | February 2017)
“20 shops belonging to immigrants looted in South Africa” (The Guardian (Nigeria) | February 2017)
(Image Credit: James Oatway/Reuters)
Refugees and immigrants traveling to U.S. reportedly stopped at airports following executive order
- President Donald Trump issued an executive order halting refugee resettlement in the U.S. for 120 days.
- The order also creates a 90-day suspension of visas for nationals from”countries of concern,” expected to include Muslim-majority countries with little to no connection to Trump’s business interests including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
- The suspended visas and refugee ban have led to the detention of and refusal of passage to immigrant airport travelers.
Full Executive Order Text: Trump’s Action Limiting Refugees Into the U.S. (via The New York Times)
(Image Credit: via Politico)
Muslims of Somali descent targeted in Kansas bomb plot
- Three men were arrested on charges of domestic terrorism after a plot to bomb an apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas housing a large number of immigrant Somali Muslims.
- The conspirators went by the name “The Crusaders” and had come under surveillance during an eight-month investigation by the FBI.
- The failed plot comes amidst a wave of anti-Muslim attacks in the U.S., with 2015 and 2016 having had the highest number on record.
“Attack on Somalis in Kansas thwarted, feds say” (CNN)
“3 Held in Bomb Plot Against Somalis in Kansas” (The New York Times)
“Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Reach ‘Levels Not Surpassed’ Since 9/11: Analysis” (NBC News)
(Image Credit: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters, via NBC News)
Kenya announces plans to close refugee camps, including world’s largest
- If carried out, the decision would impact hundreds of thousands of refugees (most Somali), including more than 300,000 at Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world.
- The government has cited national security concerns for the abandonment of a repatriation agreement with Somalia and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, taking the initial step of disbanding the Department of Refugee Affairs and calling on the international community to support the transition.
- In the lead up to the announcement, the camps experienced major reductions in resources, including food and healthcare.
“Kenya Moves to Close Refugee Camps” (Voice of America)
“Kenya camp closures no surprise to refugees: ‘We’ve been crying out but no one heard’” (African Arguments)
“Closing camp will ‘worsen’ risk of terror” (The Star)
UNHCR Dadaab Portal
(Image Credit: UNHCR via Voice of America)
As many as 500 may have died in migrant boat sinking in Mediterranean
- The U.N. refugee agency indicated as many as 500 may have died after a boat carrying mostly African migrants and refugees capsized between Libya and Italy, according to interviews with 41 survivors.
- If verified, the incident would be the largest migrant tragedy on record since the April 2015 sinking that killed more than 800 migrants.
- Smugglers have returned to dangerous trans-Mediterranean routes between Libya and Italy following a recent deal between the E.U. and Turkey to stem migration in the eastern Mediterranean.
“Survivors report massive loss of life in latest Mediterranean Sea tragedy” (U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees press release)
“Hundreds feared dead in migrant shipwreck off Libya” (The Guardian)
“500 May Have Died in Sinking of Migrant Boat in Mediterranean, U.N. Says” (The New York Times)
(Image Credit: Nikitas Kotsiaris/EPA, via The New York Times)