USA African asylum seekers deported to Nairobi
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has stepped up removals of Africans and could send a final flight on Tuesday
The Trump administration is continuing to deport African asylum seekers in its last few days before the inauguration of Joe Biden, who has promised a 100-day suspension of deportations, amid allegations of abuse of detainees, insufficient legal protections and inadequate precautions against Covid infection.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) confirmed a “removal flight” left Louisiana on Thursday bound for Nairobi. The charter plane believed to be carrying Somali, Ethiopian and Kenyan deportees made a refuelling stop in Sofia. Immigrant support activists believe the deportees were transferred to commercial planes in Nairobi for transfer to other countries.
There are mounting concerns that there could be a final deportation flight to Africa as late as Tuesday – the day before Biden takes office – as part of a systematic effort by Ice to move as many African asylum seekers as possible out of the country before the end of the zealously anti-immigrant Trump administration.
The last few months of 2020 saw a rise in deportations of African nationals, despite ongoing political and sectarian violence in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries to which deportees were returned.
Some of the deportees had open legal cases while others, according to their lawyers and immigrant advocacy groups, had not been given a fair hearing by immigration judges appointed by the justice department.