Repeat Deportations Reflect Trump Administration’s Animus Toward Black Migrants, Rejection of International Human Rights Law, Retaliation Against Those Who Protest Rights Violations
November 10, 2020, New York — Tomorrow, for the second time in under a month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are planning to deport a group of Cameroonian asylum seekers back into an active war zone where they face imminent persecution and death. This targeted mass deportation comes after 60 Cameroonian and 28 Congolese asylum seekers were secretly and forcibly deported from the U.S. to their respective countries on October 13, 2020, many having been tortured into signing their deportation papers while in ICE detention. In response, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
Even as the Trump administration has consistently demonstrated its racist antipathy to African and other Black migrants, in recent months we have witnessed a dramatic escalation of its anti-immigrant policies with the deportation of hundreds of Cameroonians and other African asylum seekers to countries with ongoing internal conflicts. Human rights organizations have documented a harrowing, violent, and escalating conflict in Cameroon and a culture of impunity that promotes persecution and killing that extends to those who had sought refuge in the U.S. under international law.
These mass deportations are reckless, inhumane—and unlawful. Under international law, the United States is bound by the fundamental principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits a country from returning or expelling an individual to a country where they have a well founded fear of persecution and/or torture. The deportations also appear to target Cameroonians, in part because they have consistently resisted — through litigation, hunger strikes, and public protest — the harsh and unjust confinement in immigration detention.
For the Trump administration to deport Cameroonian asylum seekers back to a war zone in retaliation for their resistance is fully in character: cruel, unlawful, and vindictive.
The Center for Constitutional Rights stands with asylum seekers from Cameroon and across the African continent in demanding that the U.S. immediately end targeted deportations and recommit to the principle and practice of non-refoulement. Further, the U.S. must designate Cameroon as a country for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in light of the current civil and political crisis in the country. Despite the Trump administration's rush to avoid accountability through politicized and unlawful deportations, we must and will hold the U.S. responsible for the dozens of lives it puts in jeopardy.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.