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Inhumane treatment of Somali detainees is alleged

It’s a difficult time to be an immigrant in the United States. That was evidenced fully earlier this month when agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reportedly kept 92 Somali immigrants on a plane — chained — for nearly two days in conditions akin to a “slave ship.” The incident occurred when ICE attempted to deport the detainees back to Somalia.

The airplane was chartered by the ICE Air Operations division. It took off on Dec. 7 from Louisiana and 10 hours later, landed in Dakar, Senegal, for a pit stop. It remained on the tarmac for almost a day and never continued on to Mogadishu. Instead, ICE ordered the plane to return on a 4,600-mile flight back to America on Dec. 9.

According to Newsweek, a detainee and a lawyer for two other of the detained Somalis claimed that ICE didn’t provide adequate water or food to the Somalis. They also had no access to working bathrooms and had to urinate in emptied water bottles or wet themselves.

Other claims include that the air-conditioning on the airplane was not functional and that one or more ICE agents hit a detainee in the face.

One detainee — a 32-year-old diabetic who had lived in the United States for nearly 16 years and drove a truck for a living — claimed that the detainees “were treated like slaves.” He said that they wore shackles for 46 hours. He was not given his medicine and urinated on himself.

Enforcing valid immigration laws should not involve inhumane treatment of detainees that is best left in the shameful annals of history. Those who experience such actions by ICE or other governmental agents may benefit from legal advice regarding their claims.

Source: Newsweek, “ICE Kept 92 Immigrants Shackled on a Plane for Two Days in ‘Slave Ship’ Conditions, Advocates Say,” Carlos Ballesteros, Dec. 14, 2017