At a Glance
The complaint was filed in the Southern District of New York on October 13, 2021. Summary judgment briefing is scheduled for Spring 2023.
Cameroon is in the midst of an intense civil war that has displaced 700,000 people and left 3.9 million in need of humanitarian support. Cameroonian security forces have been responsible for extrajudicial killings and torture. The Cameroonian asylum seekers deported in October and November 2020 are at risk and claim that they were tortured and forcibly deported from the U.S. despite having viable asylum claims. Advocates in the U.S. created the coalition Alliance in Defense of Black Immigrants to stop future deportations and stay in contact with and support people who have been deported to Cameroon. As part of their efforts to support the people who have already been deported, push for accountability, and seek and protective status for people from Cameroon, advocates from the coalition asked the Center for Constitutional Rights to submit FOIA requests to learn more about who was on the 2020 deportation flights and why the flights occurred despite the fact that Cameroon is clearly experiencing a civil war.
These FOIAs are in partnership with Project South and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and were submitted to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Department of the Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), and the Department of State (DOS) for records and data concerning the recent increase of ICE removals of Cameroonians into an area of known violent conflict. Information obtained from the FOIA requests will help advocates strengthen their policy campaign and educational materials to stop deportations to Cameroon and fight for the return of the asylum seekers deported in October and November 2020. The FOIA requests focus on (1) data regarding the demographic information of persons on deportation flights to Cameroon between August 2020 and the inauguration of President Biden on January 20, 2021, including the nature and status of immigration relief requested; (2) correspondence among ICE officials and relevant consular officials regarding removals of Cameroonians and conditions in Cameroon.
This FOIA case and accompanying advocacy support is being done in partnership with members of the Alliance in Defense of Black Immigrants coalition, which is comprised of interfaith groups, community advocates, family members of Cameroonians in detention and those deported, and other organizations like SPLC, Families for Freedom, and Haitian Bridge Alliance.