Connect with us


ICE detainees describe beatings, other abuses



Guards at an immigrant detention center in West Texas were spoiling for fights with their charges, heaping verbal abuse and threats on them and delivering beatings and using pepper spray indiscriminately, two men held at the facility said.

The West Texas Detention Facility in Sierra Blanca, which is operated by Louisiana-based LaSalle Corrections under a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was criticized this week in a report by immigration rights groups. They’re asking the departments of Justice and Homeland Security to look into allegations that immigrants from Africa were physically assaulted, called racial slurs and denied medical care.

Guled Muhumed, a Somalia immigrant who said he came to the U.S. in 1996 when he was 9 years old, said he’s been in nine detention centers since he was arrested by ICE six months ago. But nowhere did he encounter the harsh and violent treatment he faced in the Sierra Blanca center, Muhumed said in a phone interview from another facility in Robstown.

“On the first or second day, one of the Somali guys was thrown on the floor. Another guy, he was jumped by four or five officers because he talked back to them,” Muhumed said. “The day that we were leaving, a guy in front of me who was shackled was beaten too, because he told them the handcuffs were too tight.”

“These officers at West Texas were anxious to do something to us. Anytime one of us speaks out, says something in the hallway, they would get in the person’s face and tell them be quiet, shut up,” he added. “You go there with your own eyes, you can see the officers, these are young officers, they look like they’re on steroids, they’re buff, big guys.”

The report released by the San Antonio-based Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, the Texas A&M School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic and the University of Texas School of Law Immigration Clinic is based on interviews with 30 Somali immigrants and alleges that, during a brief stay at the West Texas Detention Facility in late February and early March, about 80 men from Africa were subjected to brutal conditions.

In a statement, ICE said it “takes very seriously any allegations of misconduct or unsafe conditions.”

“ICE maintains a strict zero tolerance policy for any kind of abusive behavior and requires all staff working with the agency to adhere to this policy,” the statement reads. “All allegations are independently reviewed by ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility. ICE has not been made aware of any allegations prior to this initial reporting from RAICES.”

LaSalle Corrections did not respond to requests for comment.

Muhumed also described what he said was an indiscriminate use of pepper spray. On one occasion, guards sprayed dozens of people in a sleeping area because two detainees were fighting. On another occasion, he said, an ICE officer instigated a tense situation by insulting and cursing at the detainees.

The ICE officer left and detention center staff again filled the sleeping area with pepper spray while the detainees were menaced by Hudspeth County sheriff’s deputies with shotguns, Muhumed said. On both occasions, the guards were behind a gate that protected them from the detainees.

The Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

During the second pepper spray incident, Muhumed said, he tried to drag a man who was vomiting and struggling to breathe up to the gate so he could receive medical attention.

“When we brought him to the gate one of the officers cocked his shotgun right at me and one of the other guys, and one of the shells from the shotgun fell on the floor,” he said. “I didn’t understand what was the point of him doing that. His life was not in danger. None of the other officers … was in danger. The door was closed. It was locked.”

Abdilahih Mohamed, 36, also from Somalia, said he witnessed the pepper spray incidents as well.

“They did a whole lot of threatening and pushing and shoving around, enticing people to get aggressive and fight, but we never did anything to them,” he said “So when the Macing had started, the officers were definitely not threatened. This was just one of the captains and leaders of the jail trying to show his manhood.”

Mohamed said he was menaced by a guard, who threatened to gouge him with a key. After about a week in detention, as the shackled detainees were loaded onto a bus for transportation to another facility, a group of LaSalle employees stalked between the seats trying to goad the men into talking back and threatened them with a pepper spray canister, Mohamed said.

“When we went inside the bus, there was four or five six officers came onto the bus, screaming at us, saying, ‘Say something,’” he said. “They lifted up the guy’s glasses and held it right up to his eye and said, ‘Say something.’”

Immigrant rights advocates involved in the report said the abuses reported by detainees were extreme for immigration detention centers.

“These are very severe abuses even compared to the types of things I’ve seen in other detention centers in terms of the level of physical assault that we saw,” Fatma Marouf, a law professor and director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at Texas A&M University, said during a Friday conference call with reporters. “Nearly half of the people we talked to have been assaulted by officers. And so that is quite extreme.”

The men are not being held because they’re charged with a crime, but because they are facing deportation, a civil court proceeding, said Jonathan Ryan, the executive director of San Antonio-based RAICES. Immigration detention centers are “not intended to be in any way a punitive environment,” Ryan said.

“It is expressly for the purpose of enforcing immigration laws, but what we’ve heard about here, what these individuals have suffered and seen is, it’s far beyond a punitive environment and into the territory of an outright criminal and persecutory one,” he said.

Convictions led to detention

Muhumed said about 30 Somalis were transferred in early March to the Coastal Bend Detention Center in South Texas. Initially the men were kept under tight security, apparently a result of reports from officials in Sierra Blanca, but after a few weeks without incident they’re under fewer restrictions, he said. They’re still only allowed one hour of exercise a day, Muhumed said.

He said his family fled Somalia’s civil war in the 1990s, eventually coming to the U.S. He was allowed to enter the country on a refugee visa, but never received a green card and was later convicted on drug charges and couldn’t become a citizen. Muhumed said he’s turned his life around and teaches at his mosque and helped found a program for teens in his Minnesota community to stay out of trouble.

He’s now married with a daughter who’s about to turn 2 years old and his wife is pregnant, Muhumed said. Last year, as he went to take his daughter to day care in the morning, he found ICE officers waiting outside his apartment. They took him into custody, and began shifting him around detention centers, apparently in preparation for deporting him to Somalia.

Mohamed said he came to the U.S. as a child as well. Many of his family members are now U.S. citizens, but Mohamed never naturalized and lost his green card after a drug possession conviction in 2009. He said he signed paperwork that he believed allowed him to stay in the U.S. as long as he regularly checked in with ICE, but almost a decade later is facing deportation.

He’s afraid of going back to Somalia, Mohamed said. Islamic militants target those who have lived in the U.S. and Europe and he’s heard stories about men with tattoos having an arm cut off. If he’s deported, Mohamed said, he’ll be leaving behind a wife and two children.

“I was working doing framing work, and they took my life away and brought me here, and now they’re taking me to a country where I don’t have a word, I don’t know a single person,” he said. “Everybody makes mistakes, but I feel like that little mistake’s been following me since I was 25 and caught that little drug charge.”

‘Beaten down’

Muhumed said that after his treatment in West Texas, spending months apart from his family and being shuffled from detention center to detention center, he’s ready to give up and accept deportation to Somalia.

“I’m doing this to let everyone know what’s going on with this treatment that’s going on here, everything that we went through. I don’t want anyone else to go through the same process, the same torture,” he said.

“Personally, I don’t want to stay anymore. I did, but not anymore after what I’ve been seeing lately. The country we grew up with, we loved, it’s not the same anymore. Especially with this new administration and this hate that’s going around. It’s not somewhere that we can feel comfortable or that we can feel safe as Somali or African, as a Muslim, as black.”

His U.S. citizen wife, Layla Jama, who was on the same conference call, said afterward that the separation from his family has been incredibly difficult for Muhumed.

“He’s talking out of frustration right now, but obviously the conditions in Somalia are a hundredfold worse than what is here,” Jama said. “A lot of what Guled’s saying right now, specifically it’s coming out of frustration. It’s been a long battle … but I don’t think he means it.”

ICE has found it difficult to deport immigrants to Somalia, where the militant group Al-Shabab is trying to overthrow the government, said Marouf, the A&M professor. She said that’s likely part of the reason the Somali men have been shuffled from detention center to detention center for months.

“I don’t think they really have a plan for how to remove all of them, so they’re indefinitely in detention,” Marouf said. “If deportation isn’t foreseeable, they’re supposed to release someone. And they keep scheduling flights and saying removal is foreseeable, but they keep canceling the flights.”

Several family members of the men in detention told reporters Friday that the men felt pressured to sign agreements to leave the U.S. Meanwhile, the wives and fiances of several said their husbands have been denied medical care and complaints about their treatment had been ignored.

Shantel Ismail, whose husband, Mohamed Ismail, was held in the West Texas facility, said she spoke to him on the phone one time and heard in the background the screams of a man who needed medical attention. Her husband hasn’t seen his infant daughter for months and has considered accepting deportation and trying to reunite with his family in another country, said Ismail, a nurse in Ohio.

“He’s just defeated at this point. His rights are being taken from him. He’s being mistreated. He’s been beaten and handcuffed,” she said. “They’ve beaten these men down so much they don’t have anything left.”

Jason Buch is a San Antonio Express-News staff writer. Read more of his stories here. | [email protected] | @jlbuch

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


VIDEO: Rise in hate crimes prompts workshop for women’s safety



SEATTLE – Hate crimes in Seattle is why more than a dozen women attended a workshop called “Hijabs and Harassment” in West Seattle. They say wearing a hijab as part of their religion makes them a target for harassment.

“For my mother and my sisters that cover, you see that they are Muslim walking down the street, so they’re an easier target than myself who chooses not to cover or Muslim men who don’t have outward signs of their faith,” said Nimco Bulale, education program manager at One America.

Bulale, who was born in Somalia, left her home country after the civil war moving to Uganda then to America when she was six years old. She now teaches fellow Somali women how to protect themselves.

Bulale says Muslim women are feeling a heightened sense of anxiety with more negative rhetoric around Muslims since President Trump took office.

“We don’t know what our right, we don’t know what to do,” said Farhiya Mohamed, executive director of the Somali Family Safety Taskforce. She says many women in her community have come to her asking what to do if someone yells a racial slur while they’re at a bus stop or physically attacks them because they’re wearing a hijab, so she decided it was time to put together an educational workshop to address those concerns.

“2017 was our highest year rate for incidents against all groups,” said detective Elizabeth Wareing, the bias crimes coordinator of the Seattle Police Department.

Wareing says police means different things to people of different cultures, she is emphasizing that the Seattle police department is here to help women and anyone affected by a hate crime. She is teaching these women how to report a crime, why that’s important, how the dispatch system works and what to expect when a police officer arrives to their call.

“I want to make sure they know what SPD officers is help, not persecution or embarrassment or something negative they may have faced at their home country,” said Wareing.

She says unlike problems like property crime, hate crimes are more challenging to solve using traditional methods.

“We can throw more officers at the area or change our patrol patterns and it changes the patterns of incident, like for property crimes, but with bias crimes, we’ve noticed they happen all over the city at time frames that are random,” said Wareing.

She says it’s critical for these women and anyone affected by hate crimes to report them because she says if police don’t know it’s happening they can’t act to mitigate it.

The city shows 418 incidents of bias crime in 2017 for all groups, with downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill and Northgate seeing the highest numbers by neighborhood.

This group of women says they want to learn how to work with police to help make them feel safer.

“America is my second home,” said Sofya Omar, one participant who says people avoid her on a bus because she is wearing a hijab and she’s too fearful to go out at night because she may get harassed.

“I wish the larger community would know that we too are here seeking opportunity and a better life just like everyone else,” said Bulale.

Continue Reading


London lawyer acquitted of forcing daughter to undergo female genital mutilation



LONDON, (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A London solicitor accused of forcing his daughter to undergo female genital mutilation was acquitted on Thursday, increasing pressure on police and prosecutors who have yet to secure a conviction for FGM more than 30 years after it was outlawed.

The prosecution was only the second to be brought under FGM legislation introduced in 1985.

During a nine-day trial at London’s Central Criminal Court, the prosecution alleged that the defendant had twice arranged for someone to come to the family home to cut his daughter as a form of punishment when she was around nine years old.

But the defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said in an emotional testimony that the allegations were fabrications arising from a very acrimonious divorce.

He said his wife had repeatedly threatened to destroy him and had turned their children against him.

“I didn’t cut my daughter. I would never hurt my daughter,” he told the jury. “I would give my life for my children.”

A medical expert confirmed the girl’s genitalia had been cut but said the scars were unusual and could not say when the injuries occurred.

The 50-year-old lawyer, who comes from West Africa, said FGM was not practiced in his community and he had no idea who had cut his daughter. He was also cleared of three counts of child cruelty.

Police and prosecutors have faced mounting pressure in recent years to secure a conviction for FGM as part of broader efforts to eradicate the practice, which usually involves the partial or total removal of external genitalia.

An estimated 137,000 women and girls in England and Wales have undergone FGM, which affects immigrant communities from various countries including Somalia, Sierra Leone, Eritrea, Sudan, Nigeria and Egypt.

Politicians and campaigners, who believe thousands of girls in Britain are at risk of FGM, have said a successful prosecution would act as a deterrent.

Prosecutors were criticised over the first FGM trial in 2015 when a doctor was accused of performing FGM while treating a woman who had given birth. He was acquitted.

A leading obstetrician branded the trial a “ludicrous” travesty of justice which would leave doctors on labour wards terrified of touching women who had been subjected to FGM.

A second trial involving FGM – but brought under child cruelty laws – collapsed last month. (Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit to see more stories.)

Continue Reading


Week of Hell: Dozens of African Detainees Allege Serial Abuse and Hate Crimes at Notorious Private Immigration Jail



Late last month, roughly 80 immigrant men from Somalia, Kenya, and Sudan arrived at a remote, for-profit detention center in West Texas to await deportation. In the week that followed, the men were pepper-sprayed, beaten, threatened, taunted with racial slurs, and subjected to sexual abuse. The treatment they endured amounted to multiple violations of federal law and grave human rights abuses — and it all happened over the course of a single week. These are the findings of chilling new report by a collection of Texas-based legal advocacy groups.

The alleged abuse was so grave that advocates for the men have now filed a series of complaints with the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and local authorities calling for investigations into what happened behind the locked doors of the detention facility. According to the advocates, the U.S. attorney’s office has forwarded those complaints, which included alleged hate crimes perpetrated by detention center guards, to the FBI.

The detention center in question, known as the West Texas Detention Facility, is operated by LaSalle Corrections, a for-profit outfit that, according to its website, “manages 18 facilities with a total inmate capacity of over 13,000 and leases one facility to a law enforcement agency.” The report, published Thursday, provides a jarring glimpse inside the world of privatized immigrant detention, which the Trump administration is seeking to expand. The allegations bear disturbing similarities to other abuse claims made by detainees of African descent in recent weeks.

Compiled by the Texas A&M University School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic, the University of Texas School of Law Immigration Clinic, and RAICES, a Texas-based legal organization, the report is based on interviews with 30 Somali men who described their experiences at the West Texas Detention Facility from February 23 to March 2 of this year. The report points to consistent accounts of detention center personnel, including the warden of the facility, all of whom are contractors under U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, engaging in deeply abusive practices.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) takes very seriously any allegations of misconduct or unsafe conditions,” ICE spokesperson Leticia Zamarippa said in a statement to The Intercept. “ICE maintains a strict zero tolerance policy for any kind of abusive behavior and requires all staff working with the agency to adhere to this policy. All allegations are independently reviewed by ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility. ICE has not been made aware of any allegations prior to this initial reporting from RAICES.”

The backgrounds of the men, who ranged in age from their 20s to their 50s, varied. “Some came to the U.S. as refugees when they were children. Others entered recently with visas or without status,” the report says. Some of the detainees are married to U.S. citizens and have U.S. citizen children. One of the interviewees in the report who fits that description, a man whose name was given only as Taifa, came to the U.S. at age 12. He was convicted of marijuana possession in 2002. Twelve years later, ICE came to his home and arrested him. He has been moving through immigration court and the detention system ever since.

What all of the men have in common, the report notes, is that they “were in ICE custody for the sole purpose of effectuating deportation after receiving final orders of removal.” All of the men interviewed reported having been pepper-sprayed at least once during their week in detention, while 14 others — nearly half of the interviewees — reported other types of physical abuse.

Diana Tafur, a supervising attorney with RAICES who took part in the investigation, told The Intercept that for reasons of confidentiality, the full complaints detailing what the men experienced have not been made public. Tafur said the network of groups that investigated the alleged abuse were initially tipped off by family members and attorneys for the men locked inside the West Texas facility. The interviews, which were conducted last week, culminated in complaints filed with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and its inspector general’s office, as well as local authorities.

“The assistant United States attorney for the Western District of Texas responded right away and they did say that they had forwarded the information to the El Paso division of the FBI,” Tafur said, adding that the “horrific abuse rose to violate various federal crimes, as well as civil violations.”

The Department of Justice did not respond to a request for comment.

One detainee, a man called Dalmar, told the legal advocates that the warden of the West Texas Detention Facility hit him in the face four times while he was in the nurse’s office. “Are you going to let this happen?” Dalmar recalled telling the medical staff, to which a staff member allegedly responded, “We didn’t see anything.” Dalmar claims he was then “placed in solitary confinement, where I was forced to lie face down on the floor with my hands handcuffed behind my back while I was kicked repeatedly in the ribs by the warden.”

“When I told him, ‘I‘ll get a lawyer to sue you,’ the warden responded, ‘We’ve got enough money,’” Dalmar claimed.

According to the LaSalle Corrections website, Mike Sheppard, a veteran corrections officer, has overseen the West Texas Detention Facility as warden since 2015.

The Intercept reached out to the West Texas Detention Facility looking to speak to an official who could comment on the report. A receptionist at the facility said, “Technically we’re not supposed to give out that information or we can’t give out that information.” When asked what specific categories of information the facility couldn’t give out, the receptionist replied, “Any information.” The receptionist then provided a number for LaSalle’s corporate office. The number connected to a voicemail box that had not been set up. The Intercept also called LaSalle’s Austin office. A receptionist there said an official with the company would or would not respond with comment later in the day. The company ultimately did not respond.

Under ICE’s 2000 National Detention Standards, as Thursday’s report notes, contractors working with the immigration enforcement agency are permitted to use force “only after all reasonable efforts to resolve a situation have failed. Staff must attempt to gain a detainee’s willing cooperation before using force, and under no circumstances should force be used to punish a detainee. Yet numerous detainees reported excessive use of force as punishment, without cause, and as the initial action taken in a situation.”

The complaints in the report shed light on the lack of enforcement options available under the standards and ICE’s unwillingness to ask private contractors “for strict adherence” to them, said Elissa Steglich, a professor at the University of Texas Law School’s immigration clinic. “These are contractual arrangements with private corporations, and we’ve seen ICE defer to their private interests,” she said.

The men interviewed for the report independently describe witnessing or being subjected to physical force that included multiple accounts of officers throwing detainees to the floor and, in one case, slamming a man’s head against the concrete “even though he did not resist.” The report adds: “One of the detainees, Sharmaarke, alleged that LaSalle corrections officers sexually assaulted him by fondling his penis and groin area over his clothes while he was pushed against the wall.”

“This happened to him multiple times,” the report claims.

In addition to the physical abuse, the detainees who had been through the West Texas facility described use of solitary confinement — what the government euphemistically refers to as “administrative segregation” — that appears inconsistent with the guidelines ICE contractors are required to abide by.

Under those rules, a committee at the facility is required to hold a hearing and issue a formal order before a detainee is removed from the general population. “None of the detainees we talked to who were placed in solitary confinement were provided copies of their segregation orders, found guilty of committing a prohibited act at a hearing, or posed a threat,” the report notes.

Instead, the report suggests a pattern of detainees being thrown into solitary for arbitrary or vindictive reasons, including asking for socks and underwear, talking too loudly to the warden, and asking to be sent back to Somalia.

Thursday’s report comes just weeks after an Intercept story on strikingly similar complaints made by a group of Somali detainees at an immigration detention center 1,800 miles away from western Texas — the Glades County Detention Center in Florida. Since December, dozens of Somalis who were on a botched deportation flight that was returned to Miami have been in detention, several of them accusing guards at the detention facility of violent assaults and racism. (ICE has denied the allegations.)

Detainees in Texas reported being pepper-sprayed on multiple occasions, leading, in some cases, to difficulty breathing and coughing up blood; being placed in solitary confinement as a form of punishment, including after being pepper-sprayed; and being the subject of racial epithets from guards at the detention facility. Similarly, some detainees at Glades reported that guards used pepper spray against them as a form of punishment, including by spraying into a crowded cell, making it difficult to breathe. The Glades detainees also said that they were sent to segregation units after making complaints and that they had experienced racism at the jail. “They called them ‘niggers.’ They called them ‘boy.’ They’ve said things like, ‘We’re sending you boys back to the jungle,’” Lisa Lehner, one of the attorneys representing the Glades detainees, told The Intercept last month.

At the West Texas facility, detainees similarly reported guards using racist language when addressing them. “Shut your black ass up. You don’t deserve nothing. You belong at the back of that cage,” one detainee recalled an officer saying. “Boy, I’m going to show you. You’re my bitch,” recalled another. “You are a terrorist,” said a third.

“The pattern and practice of abuses LaSalle corrections officers engaged against the group of African detainees over the course of a week amounts to hate crimes, conspiracy against rights, and a deprivation of rights under color of law,” says the report. “The officers used epithets (‘terrorist’ and ‘boy’ and ‘n*’) in combination with beatings, broad and indiscriminate use of pepper spray, and routine and arbitrary use of segregation and other violations to demean and injure the men.”

By congressional mandate, ICE is required to meet a quota of 34,000 beds filled each day. The Trump administration has sought to increase that number to 51,000. Housing that many people requires significant resources devoted to medical care. In that area, too, the West Texas Detention Facility appears to have fallen woefully short.

In 2015, Taifa, the man who came to the U.S. at age 12 and now has a U.S. citizen family, was involved in a car accident where he shattered his pelvis and suffered brain trauma. According to the report, his injuries require multiple medications and psychiatric care. However, since he was detained, Taifa said he had not received medications or had access to a psychiatrist. A detainee named Mohamed, who claims to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from the torture and murder of family members in his home country, added that he was denied medication to treat his PTSD at the facility. He also claimed that he had not received any medical care in response to him coughing up blood after being pepper-sprayed several times.

Many of the men interviewed for the report have spent months or years in detention after receiving a final order of deportation because ICE was not able to deport them to Somalia. Steglich, the University of Texas Law School professor, said two deportation flights were canceled in the last month, without explanation from ICE. Many of the men did not have travel documents and could not reach their embassy, which might have been a reason for the delay, she noted.

“Overall, this raises a real question of the credibility of ICE engaging in pre-detention of folks who have been ordered deported without any assurance that flights can actually happen,” Steglich said. “I think it’s significant that we saw weeks, if not months, of detention that we know of, and two flights not going forward. And that begs the question of the necessity of [ICE] detaining folks when they did and keeping folks detained.”

The West Texas Detention Facility has a history of scrutiny for its conditions. In 2016, the ICE Office of Detention Oversight reported the detention facility had multiple deficiencies with discipline and health services. “A review of facility training records showed facility staff did not consistently receive required training on the use of non-lethal equipment, e.g. oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray,” ICE investigators found, using the name for the active ingredient in pepper spray.

A 2016 article from Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of public radio stations across the southwestern U.S., mentions detainees complaining of inhumane treatment at the facility, including some who said they were forced to use plastic bags as toilets. In May 2017, Mexican journalist Martín Méndez Pineda, who was seeking asylum in the U.S., wrote a Washington Post column on his experiences at the West Texas Detention Facility, where he was held. It was there, he said, that he “experienced the worst days of my life.”

Alan Dicker from the Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee, a collective that works with detained migrants, said the report’s findings were not surprising. But many detainees will not speak out about conditions inside the facility, he added, out of fear of retaliation.

“They’re terrified,” Dicker told The Intercept. “I’ve had family members tell me their loved one will not tell them about what’s going on because they’re too afraid to do so.”

According to the LaSalle website, the detention center was owned by Emerald Corrections until April 2017, when LaSalle acquired it. Sheppard, the current warden of the facility, was previously working for the facility under Emerald, according to LaSalle’s website.

Though complaints of abuse have dogged the West Texas Detention Facility for years, Steglich said the guards are no doubt emboldened by the anti-immigrant rhetoric emanating from the highest levels of government. In January, for example, President Donald Trump reportedly used the word “shithole” to describe African countries.

“The rhetoric that we hear from high levels in the administration that has been very negative, often with racist undertones regarding Africans in particular, in combination with their discussion of the countries being recalcitrant, being terrorist supporting, and generally hostile toward America,” Steglich said. “That will feed a sense of impunity on behalf of corrections officers and jailers and give a sense of appropriateness of punishing immigrants rather than acknowledging that their detention is civil in nature only, and should not be punitive.”

Steglich added that the responsiveness of the U.S. attorney’s office to the alleged abuses, exemplified by the decision to share the information with the FBI, was encouraging. She said, “I’m heartened that they recognized the egregiousness.”

Continue Reading


  • Somali News20 hours ago

    SUPER NOSTALGIC 1980’s Mogadishu Somalia

  • Diaspora20 hours ago

    VIDEO: Rise in hate crimes prompts workshop for women’s safety

  • UK20 hours ago

    London lawyer acquitted of forcing daughter to undergo female genital mutilation

  • Somali News2 days ago

    AU mission trains Somali police officers on human rights

  • Somali News2 days ago

    Car-bomb explodes near Somalia’s parliament

  • Minnesota2 days ago

    After charges in Justine Damond killing, racial dynamic remains a focal point

  • Arts & Culture2 days ago

    WATCH: This Teen’s Blistering Spoken Word Performance Calls Out America’s Hypocrisy Around Mass Shootings

  • Diaspora2 days ago

    Week of Hell: Dozens of African Detainees Allege Serial Abuse and Hate Crimes at Notorious Private Immigration Jail