U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet is asking the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to investigate the treatment of Cameroonian asylum seekers in custody, following a report of pressure by government officials on detainees to sign deportation paperwork.
“I urge ICE to halt deportations of these individuals until this investigation is complete,” Bennet wrote in a Nov. 23 letter, referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
According to the Associated Press, eight detainees in Mississippi alleged that ICE officials used physician force, including pepper spray and handcuffs, to obtain fingerprints for deportation paperwork.
“I was crying, ‘I need to talk to my attorney,’ and I said, ‘They are going to kill me’,” said one man.
Human Rights Watch reports that as of 2018, Cameroonians faced extrajudicial executions, destroyed property, arbitrary arrests and torture in detention in their country.
The claims of mistreatment in Mississippi “are deeply disturbing and detail gross violations of ICE detention standards, U.S. law, and civil and human rights,” Bennet wrote. “The reports of coercion and insufficient travel documentation call into question the authenticity and validity of the ICE deportation process.”
Bennet asked the department for a commitment to investigate what led to these incidents and what the consequences were for the employees responsible.
Source: Colorado Politics