A Florida judge has issued a temporary stay of deportation for 92 Somali immigrants who, according to a class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday, were subjected to “inhumane conditions and egregious abuse” during a failed deportation effort by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The order signed Wednesday by District Judge Darrin Gayles prohibits the Somalis involved in the case from being deported and requires ICE to provide medical treatment for any injuries they might have sustained.
In a written statement to CNN, ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan said the order concerned him.
“I am troubled by this order, which appears to ignore the fact that all of these aliens were lawfully ordered removed from the US after full and fair proceedings,” Homan wrote. “Further, this order hinders ICE’s efforts to address the clear public safety threat posed by these aliens — the vast majority of whom have criminal convictions, including some with convictions for murder, rape, aggravated assault, and sexual assault. ICE has a sworn duty to enforce our immigration laws and protect the safety and security of Americans, and this misguided court order impedes the fulfillment of our lawful mission.”
In their lawsuit filing, the seven plaintiffs representing the Somalis allege deplorable conditions during their nearly two-day deportation journey earlier this month.
The deportees boarded an ICE-chartered plane in Louisiana bound for Somalia on December 7. However, the plane made it only as far as Dakar, Senegal, where it then sat on the runway for almost a day before returning to the US.