After ninety-two Somali citizens were flown out of the United States under deportation orders, their flight did not make it to Somalia and the plane landed in Senegal instead due to logistical problems. After landing in Senegal, the flight was rerouted back to the United States.
In a statement on Friday, December 8, ICE said that a relief flight crew was “unable to get sufficient crew rest due to issues with their hotel in Dakar,” so the detainees spent their time parked at the airport.
Somalia’s central government collapsed in 1991, and since then, the country has been filled with danger, including numerous militants and terrorist attacks. When discussing sending these 92 Somali citizens back to Somalia, one woman said, “The security situation is abysmal…I, apparently, was naïve because I actually believed that following the Oct. 14 bombing, this flight might be suspended.”
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) released a statement after reports of inhumane and degrading treatment of the 92 Somali nationals by ICE. According to the reports, the plane sat on tarmac for almost an entire day and the passengers were not allowed to exit the plane. The passengers were allegedly not given access to a working restroom and adequate food or water.
Some passengers were forced to urinate on themselves or in empty bottles. The temperature in the plane was unbearable due to a broken air conditioner. Moreover, reports also claim that ICE officials were abusive to the passengers throughout the transport process.
ADC wrote a letter to ICE Acting Director, Thomas D. Homan, with demands to give immediate medical attention to the detainees, delay the removal of the detainees for thirty days or more so that detainees can meet with their attorneys, and terminate the contract with the service provider who was in charge of transporting the detainees to Somalia.
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