Asylum Lawyers Fail to Stop Africans’ Deportation

A migrant holds her baby at The Expo, a sports complex converted into an emergency shelter, on June 25, 2019 in Portland, Maine. - Converging from far flung corners of the earth, and operating by word of mouth and social media, hundreds of African migrants have turned this town into …
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

Immigration lawyers tried and failed to prevent the U.S. repatriation of roughly 100 African migrants back to their home countries amid a rising flow of asylum seekers from the conflict-wracked poor continent.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center and others have filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Homeland Security over the alleged abuse of eight Cameroonians [asylum seekers] when they were at a Natchez, Miss.-based detention center,” said an October 12 report from the Dallas Morning News. The report added:

The Southern Poverty Law Center alleges eight Cameroonians were abused, beaten and forced to sign their deportation papers at the Natchez detention center. All have since been moved to Prairieland, as have others from detention centers in Louisiana, Georgia and Ohio.

“We ran from our countries to be protected here,” said Giscard Nkenglefac, a 34-year-old Cameroonian detainee who tried [to get] political asylum. “Now, when they are deporting us, our lives will be at risk.”

“We know we are sending these people back to their deaths,” Ruth Hargrove, a former prosecutor and professor who is now working as an immigration lawyer for one person from Cameroon. “I don’t understand how we as a country can do that. I don’t understand. We know exactly what we’re doing,” Hargrove told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Hundreds of millions of downtrodden people will get legal claims to migrate if the United States loosens asylum rules, responded Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies.”There are limits to how many people we can take, and no one who is arguing for looser asylum rules ever puts forward any limiting principle,” he told Breitbart News.

The aircraft left Fort Worth airport, early Tuesday evening, with almost 90 migrants aboard.

Cameroon, like many other African countries, has deep internal fractures caused by diversity, an emerging civil war marked by regional and language affiliations, economic problems, and a fast-growing population expanded from 17.5 million in 2005 up to 26.5 million in 2020. Roughly 10,000 mostly middle-class Cameroonians have asked for asylum in the United States since 2016. Most have flown into South America, trekked up to the U.S. border via the Darien Gap, Guatemala, and Mexico, and then encouraged other Cameroonians to follow their footsteps.

But this African migration is being blocked by President Donald Trump’s successful deals with Mexico and other Central American countries. Those deals require the foreign government to block migrants — and also to accept detained migrants who somehow make it through their country and across the U.S. border.

In June 2019, before Trump’s deal with Mexico, NPR reported the testimony of one migrant who was living in Maine while the federal court considered his asylum request::

Michele, from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was one of the few who did speak English. He says he, his wife and three children had to leave. They fled political strife and civil unrest in January, flying to South America and trekking north, crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in the Texas Del Rio sector.

“Congo life is not good. The political situation is not good, and I came here,” he says, declining to give his last name. “I think I’ll have a good life.”

The repatriation effort began Tuesday:

One person who tried to block the bus chanted, “Free Them All!”

The deportation is unjustified because Cameroon’s government is torturing and killing the English-language minority who want independence, Hargrove told Breitbart News:

My client was imprisoned and tortured for being a suspected sympathizer to the Anglophone independence cause. And then after he escaped out of the Gendarmerie in Cameroon, the military issued an arrest warrant for him and stopped his brother who looks like him at a checkpoint and arrested him on the warrant and tortured him for two months and almost killed him … When you only have the testimony of one person, you have to look at it critically, and you have to see if find it credible. In the immigration courts, the law is that the testimony of the asylees, if it’s detailed and specific and consistent enough, can be the basis for getting asylum. And then, of course, you want to get corroboration from other witnesses. So in my case, I have a lot of other corroboration from the witnesses whose homes my client escaped to. I’m a cynical prosecutor, so every time you bring a case, you have to look at it from the point of view of what’s on the other side.

Hundreds of thousands of people have had their homes — their whole villages burned down in Cameroon — because they were suspected of harboring separatists … To my knowledge, they are fleeing Cameroon because the English-speaking people are the victim of genocide by the Francophone government.

From my perspective, with my [Cameroonian] client, I’m not saying we open the doors for everybody. I’m saying let’s not send a man back who has a legitimate claim of persecution. To me, it’s a pretty easy call. Our own State Department and Congress have said they’re essentially [suffering] a genocide. It’s a relatively small group of people. It is inconsistent with our asylum laws to send those people back without giving them a full opportunity to establish their case … probably 90 percent of these people are unrepresented [by lawyers].

Hargrove also has a personal interest in the case:

I was named after my aunt, who died in Auschwitz. When she was 19, and we [in the United States] wouldn’t let her in. I don’t think she would have been a drain, and the reason I don’t think she would have been a drain is that my father somehow made his way in. And he had $6 when he arrived when he was 16 years old … He got a graduate degree. He raised two daughters — the first women in his family who went to college — I became a lawyer and my sister has an MBA.

The migrants are not going to be an economic drain, she said.

“I can tell you that every single Cameroonian that I have worked with is desperate to get a work permit and is desperate to work … because the ones I know are not an economic drain because they’re working two and three jobs, and they’re working legally,” she said.

Every migrant expands the economy by working and consuming, and “the fact that they’re Africans isn’t the issue,” countered Krikorian.

“But If 20, 30, 40 million people were to move to the United States from developing countries, it would have a profound effect on the society, politics, and economy of the country. It would immiserate large shares of the American workforce by driving down wages, by changing the nature of work so that even more occupations will become [socially] acceptable for Americans to work in. It would create enormous burdens on the welfare system because people with little education — no matter how hard they do work — can’t earn enough to feed their own children in a developed economy and will inevitably be using taxpayer-funded services.”

Open-ended legal migration is praised by progressives and immigration lawyers — partly because the arrival of migrants helps to shift wealth from wage-earners to stockholders, from employees to employers, from families to investors, from young to old, from homebuyers to real estate investors, from the central states to the coastal states. Migration also allows investors to ignore labor-saving technology, to sideline U.S. minorities, to rely on stoop labor in the fields and manual labor in the cities. It expands the power of executives over professionals, slows technological innovation, increases the cost of having children, and slashes labor rights.

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