Emboldened by an openly bigoted White House, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have been ramping up their abusive behavior targeting Black and brown communities.
One of the most egregious cases involves 92 Somali migrants on a botched deportation flight—who endured barbaric treatment at the hands of ICE agents, including being beaten and shackled for 40 hours.1
The worst part is that the flight was just the beginning of their abuse. All of the 92 are still being held in detention and continue to face racist assaults at the hands of ICE agents—not only physical abuse, but being called the n-word and told they will be sent "back to the jungle."2
Marc Moore (ICE Florida's Field Office Director) is the ranking ICE official for the detention centers where the Somali 92 are being held. We're calling on him to immediately to stop this abuse and hold his agents accountable for their actions. Click here to send him a message.
We only know their harrowing stories because, due to a logistical error, the flight—whose conditions have been compared to that of a "slave ship"—returned and landed in the U.S.
Upon the flight's return, the Somali migrants filed a class action lawsuit against the federal government. The suit reads:
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.3
The conditions that the 92 Somali detainees endured are, unfortunately, not an aberration. ICE agents have been operating as an unaccountable network—abusing power, using excessive force, and subjecting detainees to horrific treatment.
And the fact that these migrants are Black and Muslim means that the state feels even more impunity to use violence against them. Just last week, another group of Somali migrants, who claimed physical and sexual violence at the hands of ICE, were deported from a Texas detention camp before their abusers could face justice.4
While their lawsuit is pending, the 92 Somalis are subject to the whims of the same officers and institutions that they're fighting against—and no one has been held accountable.
Here's just one example of what these migrants are up against: on February 9th, the toilets in isolation cells at Glades County Detention Center began overflowing onto the floors, making them unusable. When two Somali detainees complained and asked for a mop so that they could clean the sewage themselves, officers "sprayed pepper spray through the slots of their cells, making them unable to breathe," according to court records. The detainees were then subjected to disgusting racial slurs and brutal beatings—just for wanting a proper toilet.5
Isra Ibrahim via MPower Change
1. "U.S. Put 92 Somalis on a Deportation Flight, Then Brought Them Back," The New York Times, Dec 9, 2017.
2. "Excessive Force," The Intercept, Mar 4, 2018.
3. "Somalis in South Florida Deported by ICE on 'Slave Ship' File Class-Action Suit," The Miami New Times, Dec 19, 2017.
4. "ICE just deported 25 Somalis who said they were physically and sexually abused in detention," Vice News, Mar 30, 2018.
5. "Excessive Force," The Intercept, Mar 4, 2018.