NEW YORK (TIP): 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 have raised 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: