August 8, 2023, Washington, D.C. – Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, the Center for Constitutional Rights and Texas A&M Law School Immigrant Rights Clinic and Civil Rights Clinic filed a case in the District of Columbia on behalf of two Cameroonian men abused by U.S. immigration detention officials and then deported back to persecution. The case, filed yesterday evening, seeks damages and return to the United States for a fair opportunity to apply for asylum.
As relayed in the complaint, detention officers pepper sprayed the two men and locked them in solitary confinement for peacefully protesting racist targeting by guards and denial of medical care. U.S. officials then deported the two men and illegally gave their asylum documents to Cameroonian officials, who imprisoned them as traitors. A 2022 Human Rights Watch report detailed the experiences of the plaintiffs and others who endured similar abuses.
According to one of the plaintiffs, JKA, “My life will never be the same because of the physical and mental pain I experienced in immigration detention in the United States. I am filing this lawsuit because I want to hold the United States government accountable for what it did to me.” Another plaintiff, TBF, says, “When I was a detained immigrant in the U.S., there were no human rights. I was tortured and there was no intervention to protect me. I plead that the world sees our fellow brothers and sisters who are detained as human beings in need of help.”
"The plight of my fellow Cameroonian brothers stands as a stark reminder of the hardships and injustices we face as Black Immigrants abused by U.S immigration enforcement,” said Daniel Tse, Founder of the Cameroon Advocacy Network and Legal Fellow at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “As an advocate for justice on behalf of my fellow Cameroonians, I denounce the unjustifiable cruelty they endured simply for pursuing the human right to apply for asylum. Because the U.S. government refuses to rectify its wrongdoing by bringing these men back for a fair opportunity to apply for asylum, we are going to court to seek accountability, restitution, and justice.”
"The government used unlawful force, solitary confinement, and deportation to retaliate against two Black asylum seekers who resisted their harsh and discriminatory confinement in immigration jail through an organized hunger strike,” said Samah Sisay, an attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. “Our clients have suffered and are fighting for redress and an end to these wrongful acts."
About Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights:
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that has worked to realize Robert F. Kennedy's dream of a more just and peaceful world since 1968. In partnership with local activists, we advocate for key human rights issues—championing change makers and pursuing strategic litigation at home and around the world. And to ensure change that lasts, we foster a social-good approach to business and investment and educate millions of students about human rights and social justice. Learn more at rfkhumanrights.org.
About Texas A&M School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic:
The Immigrant Rights Clinic engages law students in direct representation of immigrants before the Immigration Courts, Board of Immigration Appeals, U.S. District Courts and U.S. Courts of Appeals. Our representation focuses on deportation defense, federal litigation on immigration detention and affirmative filings for survivors of crimes and abuse.
About Cameroon Advocacy Network (CAN):
Founded and led by Cameroonian immigrants in the diaspora in coalition with legal and migrants’ rights advocacy organizations, CAN is uniquely situated to champion the freedom and dignity of Cameroonians, center the issues of Black immigrants, and build communities to thrive. CAN coordinates efforts dedicated to protecting displaced individuals affected by violence, humanitarian crises, persecution, and other human rights violations while spreading awareness to expose the root cause of migration from Cameroon, in solidarity with all Black immigrants fighting for liberation. Learn more at camadvocacy.org
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.