Immigration officials are ramping up deportation efforts against Black asylum-seekers, sometimes assaulting and threatening immigrants in attempt to make them sign deportation papers, according to a new Los Angeles Times report. The escalated measures have targeted asylum-seekers from African and Caribbean nations, including those who risk torture or death in their home countries. An immigration watchdog told the Times that Immigrations and Custom Enforcement flights increased 10 percent in October, an indication that ICE was scaling up deportations.
One recently deported Ethiopian man—a teacher who fled political persecution—described the treatment of African immigrants as racist. Immigration attorneys said Black and African immigrants appear to face even worse odds than other groups when applying for asylum. Although many appeared to have clear-cut asylum cases, the U.S. disproportionately rejected these immigrants’ applications, with Cameroonians and Eritreans facing approximately twice as many rejections as people Cubans and Venezuelans. Attorneys said rejections of Black asylum-seekers appear to be on the rise, for “clearly bogus reasons.” In one such case, ICE allegedly claimed an asylum-seeker had failed to prove his identity. In fact, the agency had all the man’s documents on file.