After Years of Prolonged Detention and Abuse, Bangladeshi Detainees Would Return to Imminent Danger of Imprisonment, Disappearances, and Death
March 24, 2016 – New York, NY
Immigration authorities have begun transporting South Asian detainees to Florence, Arizona, as a staging ground for impending mass deportation. Many of the Muslim migrants from Bangladesh being transported were participants in the #Freedomgiving hunger strikes at the end of 2015 that roiled a dozen detention centers across the country and brought attention to the prolonged, unjustified, and discriminatory detention of Muslim and South Asian migrants.
One of the detainees, who gave a name of Manik and is scheduled to be deported as well, said that “they are gathering all of us here from across the different jails, but none of the men here want to be sent back. Most are terrified and crying about what will happen to them if they are sent back.”
As Candidates Trump and Cruz stir anti-Muslim sentiment calling for the surveillance, ban, and deportation of Muslims — the Department of Homeland Security under the Obama Administration is already racially profiling and discriminating against Muslim migrants, by holding detainees for indefinite and extended periods of time, setting unusually high bond amounts, and now preparing to deport Muslim detainees en masse to their potential deaths.
“It is alarming that the State Department is getting involved in matters of immigration, detention, and deportation, and so recklessly jeopardizing the lives of asylum-seeking migrants who are escaping repressive and dangerous conditions,” said Fahd Ahmed, Executive Director of DRUM (Desis Rising Up & Moving). DRUM has coordinated hunger strikes and advocacy efforts for the detainees over the last 6 months. He added that “their lives have been further endangered by the mishandling of their cases and confidential information by the U.S. government.”
In violation of international law, the names and personal information of the detainees were given to the Bangladeshi government by the U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh, and their names were then leaked and published by the Bangladeshi media. And in violation of their own protocols, the detainees may be expelled despite being witnesses and victims to civil rights violations that are under open investigation by the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties within DHS.
“While many have rightfully condemned the anti-Muslim rhetoric spewed during ongoing presidential campaigns, our current policies are just as terrifying. We call on the State Department and DHS to immediately halt these deportations and for administration officials to end these policies that single out Muslim migrants,” adds Linda Sarsour, Director of MPower Change.
Activists raise grave concerns for the men’s safety and have begun using the hashtag #Deported2Death to highlight the consequence of their potential removals and are calling on the State Department and Department of Homeland Security to cancel their removals and allow them to pursue their asylum claims.
The petition is hosted by the #Not1More Campaign at:
Please join DRUM and the #Not1More Campaign in calling on DHS, the State Department, and the Congressional Bangladesh Caucus to stop their removal
and allow them to pursue their asylum claims.
I am writing in support of the Bangladeshi detainees that are currently facing deportations back to imminent danger.
I urge you consider their requests, including that:
– ICE should stop their deportations which would cause them imminent danger, including imprisonment and death
– Allow a fair hearing for their cases and redress for the multiple violations of their civil and human rights
– Release of the detainees from detention to provide them the ability to prepare their cases.
– Allow people who remain detained to be transferred to detention facilities that are closer to their families
– A stop to disparate and discriminatory treatment of South Asian detainees (through prolonged detention, legal interference, and extremely high bond amounts)
I am also aware that some of these asylum seekers have already been exposed to representatives of the same government that they have sought asylum from, and that the names of all the detainees who face deportation have been publicized by Bangladeshi media thus further endangering their lives.
I join the demand for an immediate halt to their deportations.