Guidance sign in an airport terminal
“Glades staff have used pepper spray, segregation, shackling and physical abuse on our clients in a discriminatory display of excessive force,” the administrative complaint — filed with two Department of Homeland Security offices — reads. “They have used racial slurs to berate them, including the words ‘nigger’ and ‘boy.’ They have interfered with our clients’ right to make a grievance by threatening them and placing them in segregation when they express their intention to file a grievance.”
The Somali victims are refugees and their abusers are U.S. jailers, as reported in a major exposé by The Intercept. These are the 92 men who were shackled hand and foot and waist for 40 hours as they were flown to an airport in Senegal and then back to the United States. During their 40-hour ordeal, airplane bathrooms overflowed, guards refused to remove their shackles, and they were forced to urinate in bottles or on themselves. They say that some were beaten by guards: ICE denies any mistreatment, of course.
Now they are being held in Krome Detention Center and Glade Detention Center in Florida. Pro bono lawyers, including some from the University of Minnesota’s Binger Law Center, are suring to stop deportations and to defend the human rights of the refugees. Glade may be the more abusive of the two centers, but abuse is endemic in the immigration detention system. Those held at Glade say they are threatened and put in segregation to prevent them from filing grievances. They report physical assaults by guards, which put one of the men in a wheelchair.
“Rebecca Merton, a program coordinator at Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement, or CIVIC, said that there is a logic to the mayhem: The abusive conditions eventually wear down the will of detainees to stay and fight their deportation orders in court. “One way that ICE, and particularly [Enforcement and Removal Operations, an ICE sub-office], achieves its goal of mass deportation is by subjecting people to indefinite detention in terrible conditions without any source of hope, or sometimes, outside contact,” said Merton.”
The Intercept’s detailed indictment is not easy reading, but it provides essential information for anyone who cares about basic human rights.
Other immigration news today includes the impact of immigration policy on home health care, farming, DACA recipients, LGBT youth, and immigrant military recruits. Continue reading