We Call on the Biden Administration to Halt All Deportations in the Interest of Historic Human Rights Agreements and Conventions
We urge President-Elect Biden to uphold his commitment to stop all deportations, and to
do so upon his inauguration, to shield himself and his presidency from the commission of
crimes against humanity worthy of a hearing by an international tribunal.
January 18, 2021 - In the final stretch of the discredited Trump administration, the cranked up
deportation machine continues unabated. In addition to nearly 1,000 flights by Swift Air (iAero) since February 2020, as recorded by watchdog group Witness at the Border, ICE Air contractor Omni Air International has returned African nationals seeking asylum in the United States in five consecutive monthly flights since September. The last one left Alexandria, La. in the wee hours of Jan. 14, with approximately 50 Somalis on board, as well as asylum seekers from Kenya and Ethiopia. Many of them had asylum cases still pending. Some had lived in the US for decades.
Reports indicate a small charter flight from Phoenix to Mauritania, a modern slave state, on Tuesday, January 19. Though the government supposedly abolished the practice of enslaving people in 2007, Mauritanians continue to flee to the US in search of safe haven. If they didn’t run from enslavement, they will be targeted for enslavement upon return as they are now considered traitors to their nation.
Omni Air has twice, that we know of, ferried Cameroonian anglophones back to a genocide in which they are the targeted group. Since 2016, following non-violent actions to protest
decades of systemic discrimination and marginalization, 87-year-old President Paul Biya, has
persecuted the minority, English-speaking population.
The first two flights to Cameroon in October and November exposed the culture of coercion
and cruelty used by ICE agents to expel asylum seekers, including shackling them in five-point restraints for the entire journey. The November Omni Air flight took 16 hours to reach Douala, Cameroon; it took 35 hours to land in Luanda, Angola.
Sending asylum seekers back to harm violates Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Returning asylum seekers with still open cases violates US immigration law, even as it’s been shredded under Trump. But perhaps most egregious of all was the treatment suffered by those who resist deportation. First-hand and eyewitness testimonies reveal practices routinely administered by ICE agents against immigrants , particularly Black immigrants, that fall squarely within the definition of “Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment" pursuant to international human rights law.
As the lame duck president hovers over the US Constitution, holding a lit match, we must all
rise up in condemnation of such abuses being committed in our name. We cannot wait another day to bring decency and legal due process back to our nation. We cannot wait another 100 days to remove from our security and law enforcement agencies the task of managing the futures of those in need of humanitarian aid.
CALL TO ACTION: Contact your congressional representatives starting at 12:01pm on
January 20th. Tell them to stop the US for-profit deportation machine now.
The Witness at the Border Team:
Al Otro Lado, Nicole Elizabeth Ramos
Angry Tias and Abuelas of the RGV, Madeleine Sandefur
Asylum Seeker Network of Support, Gabriela Zavala
CAPAS (Congregational Accompaniment Project for Asylum Seekers), Rev. Dottie Matthews
Church World Service
Don’t Separate Families
Faithful Friends/Amigos Fieles at the Yuba County Jail, Susan Lange
Global Social Work, LLC, Vicki Rosenthal
Going Beyond Sustainability, Shel Horowitz
Guadalupe Presbyterian Church, Salena Petersen-keesecker
Haitian Bridge Alliance, Daniel Tse
Hamilton First Presbyterian Church, Ruth Hazleton
Hope Border Institute, Dylan Corbett
Immigration Justice Action Team of Dutchess County Progressive Action Alliance
ISLA: Immigration Services and Legal Advocacy, Al Page
Louisiana Advocates for Immigrants in Detention, Frances Kelley
Memorial Presbyterian Church, Phoenix, AZ, Cynthia Jennison
Mutual Aid Immigration Network
NHCUCC Immigrant and Refugee Support Group, Nancy Pierpont
OccupyICEPDX, Jay Fakhuri
Ohio Immigrant Alliance, Lynn Tramonte
Refugee Support Network, Ana Maria Fores Tamayo
Reunite Migrant Families, Valerie Carlisle
Sisters of St Joseph, Brentwood NY Office of Justice, Susan WIlcox
Western Mass Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice, Annique Boomsma
Vielka Rivera Wambold
Diane B. Sonde
Jacqueline Ndi Ntoko
Mary Keller…..and more
Gale Gordon, MD
Marsha Zell Anson
John and Johanna Will