Somali Detainees Suing ICE, Homeland Security Alleging Abuse

December 19, 2017 06:42 PM

The video above aired on Dec. 4. 

Ninety-two Somali detainees on a deportation flight to Somalia are suing U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security for "inhumane conditions and egregious abuse." 


The group was just hours from being deported to Somalia for the second time Tuesday afternoon. 

RELATED: ICE Flight Deporting 92 Somali Nationals Stops Short of Somalia, Returns to U.S.

ICE had begun to deport the detainees to Somalia on Dec. 7, but the flight never made it its destination after a stop-over in Dakar, Senegal. ICE cited logistical issues at the time. 

Attorneys have now filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the detainees.

RELATED: Judge Temporarily Halts Deportation of Minneapolis City Worker

The suit alleges:

  • For almost two days, the men and women sat bound and shackled in an ICE-chartered airplane.
  • The plane departed Louisiana bound for Somalia, but only made it as far as Dakar, Senegal. There, the plane sat on a runway at the airport for 23 hours. As the plane sat on the runway, the 92 detainees remained bound, their handcuffs secured to their waists and their feet shackled together.
  • When the plane's toilets overfilled with human waste, some of the detainees were left to urinate into bottles or on themselves. ICE agents wrapped some who protested - or just stood up to ask a question - in full-body restraints.
  • ICE agents kicked, struck or dragged detainees down the aisle of the plane, and subjected some to verbal abuse and threats.

RELATED: For 5 Somali Men in Minnesota, a Last-Ditch Effort for Legal Status

When reached for comment, an ICE spokesperson said in a statement that the agency does not comment on active litigation, but that should not be read as an admission to any of the charges.
"As a matter of policy, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not comment on pending litigation," the statement read. "However, lack of comment should not be construed as agreement with or stipulation to any of the allegations. As part of the Department of Homeland Security's homeland security mission, our trained law enforcement professionals adhere to the Department's mission and values, and uphold our laws while continuing to provide the nation with safety and security."


Farrah Fazal

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