Immigration rights advocates have released a series of newly obtained documents revealing the racist and violent language used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials against Black asylum seekers. The communications between ICE agents are from 2020 and 2021, while the Biden administration mass deported Black asylum seekers to Cameroon and other African countries in what became known as “death flights.”
Dozens of Cameroonian asylum seekers deported by the U.S. faced torture, sexual violence and forced disappearances upon returning to their home country. At the time, Cameroonian asylum seekers also denounced torture from ICE agents who assaulted and restrained them and many times violently forced them to sign their deportation orders. In one email chain, an ICE official compares deportations to sports, while a high-ranking ICE official living in Cameroon complained about having difficulties finding a Catholic church there that wasn’t “aficanized” [sic].
In a statement, Luz López of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project said, “Black migrants suffer unfair and cruel treatment by racist U.S. immigration policies when seeking safety from gang-related violence, political instability, and extreme disasters. For decades, they have been denied due process rights and endured immoral and inhumane treatment in violation of U.S. and international laws, exposing them to further abuse, discrimination and even death.”