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Law School Students Play Vital Role in Lawsuit Blocking Deportation of 92 Somalis

December 21, 2017

Students in the Law School’s James H. Binger Center for New Americans and recent Law School graduates played key roles in a class action litigation effort that won a court order on Tuesday, December 19, temporarily blocking the deportation of 92 Somali men and women. The lawsuit was filed by the Binger Center, University of Miami Law School, and other legal services organizations in U.S. District Court in Miami.

The lawsuit cites inhumane conditions and egregious abuse of the 92 Somali men and women during ICE’s failed attempt to deport them a first time on December 7. During that aborted flight, ICE shackled the immigrants and forced them to stay seated for two days, including 23 hours when the plane sat on a runway in Senegal. The suit alleges ICE agents kicked, struck, choked, and dragged some detainees down the aisle of the plane and put others in straitjackets. The deportees also were denied access to a working bathroom.

When the December 7 flight was aborted, ICE returned the detainees to the United States, where they now are being held in detention centers in the South Florida area. ICE indicated it would put the detainees on a new flight to Somalia early on Wednesday, December 20, despite fears that the detainees would be targeted for persecution by the anti-American, anti-Western terrorist group Al Shabaab. Many of the men and women who were on the flight have had family members killed or threatened by Al Shabaab. U.S. asylum law forbids the removal of individuals to countries where they would face a likelihood of persecution or torture.

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