Dec. 18, 2017 (GIN) – As bombs rain down on Mogadishu, officers of the U.S. immigration service have been stalking the Somali expat community in Minnesota, snatching suspected immigrants without documents to the distress of families there.
Among those recently placed on a plane bound for Somalia was Mohamed Hussein, according to a report by Minnesota Public Radio. Hussein arrived in Minnesota as an infant more than 20 years ago. Somalia is a country he’s never seen and where he knows no one.
After reporting for a regular check-in with federal officials last September, Hussein was unexpectedly detained, transferred to a Louisiana detention center and then bundled into a plane in shackles for deportation. Fortunately, the planeload of 91 men and women, including 10 from Minnesota, was made to return to the U.S. due to staffing issues in Senegal.
Also rescued from the ill-fated flight was Mayo Clinic cardiovascular technician Abdoulmalik Ibrahim, a married father of four who are all U.S. citizens. Immigration lawyers are seeking to have his case reopened.
“It gives hopefully some additional time. We always hope for the best, but we are prepared for the worst,” said Kimberly Hunter, a Twin Cities immigration attorney representing Mayo Clinic employee Abdoulmalik Ibrahim.
Under a deportation order since 2004 for entering the U.S. without documentation seeking asylum, Ibrahim was presumably under a “protective status” before his detention.
Minnesota immigration lawyers are now scrambling to get emergency stays for Hussein and other Somali clients who’ve been ordered deported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
“We believe (Ibrahim) has a claim to protection,” said attorney Kimberley Hunter, citing the presence of al Shabab, a terrorist group that continues to carry out attacks in the country. “Quite honestly, I think the removal of Somalis in general is inhumane.”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials deported 512 Somalis from around the country from October 2016 through September 2017, compared to 198 during the same period a year earlier, according to the agency’s data.
A majority of those deported in the 2017 fiscal year happened under the Trump administration, lawyers say. w/pix of a Minnesota family