February 02, 2021

Van Hollen Again Calls on ICE to Immediately Halt Deportation Flights of Asylum-Seekers

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to immediately halt the deportation of Cameroonian and other African asylum-seekers. This comes in the wake of a recent court ruling on a Texas lawsuit by a Republican Attorney General to block President Biden’s 100-day suspension on deportations. Despite the ongoing violence in Cameroon which directly endangers the lives of those being deported, and a current DHS Inspector General investigation into the treatment of Cameroonian asylum seekers, reports suggest that ICE is accelerating the callous deportation of these individuals.

“For months under the previous administration we heard reports of abuse, physical coercion, and discriminatory treatment of Cameroonian and other African asylum seekers at the hands of ICE, and we still await the details of a DHS investigation. Now, a Trump-appointed judge is preventing President Biden from lawfully suspending deportations. Worse yet, ICE is accelerating pending flights for many of these asylum seekers – including those living in Maryland and close relatives of my constituents – who escaped torture and death in their home countries, only to be sent back into imminent danger without fair or complete consideration of their asylum requests. This is unacceptable and goes against our values as a nation. I am glad to see President Biden plans to move forward on executive actions to strengthen our immigration system later today. In the meantime, ICE must halt these flights at once.”