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Immigration | Human Rights Violations | USA

Podcast: African Asylum Seekers’ Tell-All Tale of ICE Torture by The WRAP

Before and during ICE-Air deportations back to harm on Omni Air International

Image courtesy of the UndocuBlack Network (2021)

Following two ICE-Air mass deportation flights to Cameroon tracked by Tom Cartwright of Witness at the Border in the fall of 2020, I couldn’t escape the rumblings of attorneys and advocates for the roughly 80 individuals the US government went to extraordinary lengths — and taxpayer expense — to return to a country wracked by protracted violence:

Click ABOVE to listen to the podcast. Click HERE for the episode transcript

When “Ray” protested being returned to certain harm, he says the ICE Military “bagged and tied” him to force all others to comply, said one.

“Godswill” states that he was “stuffed into a sack” by ICE Special Forces and carried onto the plane like trash, recounted another.

“Castillo” claims he was bussed in a “bag” while also in five-point restraints from the detention center to the plane, and not “untied” until mid-way across the Atlantic, stated a third, horrified.

That was the first I’d ever heard of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “military.” And for the life of me, I could not figure out how any grown human gets stuffed into a sack!

I decided to track down and interview as many African asylum seekers as I could find with first-hand experience of the only air-charter operator willing to fly long-haul deportation missions for ICE: Omni Air International, aka “the Death Plane.” The results of this months-long investigation are now the subject of a complaint filed with the US Department of Homeland Security Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on October 13, 2021, by seven co-signing immigrants’ rights organizations.

In this episode of Witness Radio, you will hear the testimonies of “Ray,” “Castillo,” and “Godswill,” and how agents of ICE Enforcement and Removals Operations (ERO) hacked a full-body restraint called The WRAP, considered a “life-saving device” by its manufacturer, Safe Restraints, Inc., to coerce, threaten, punish, force compliance, and even torture Black asylum seekers during deportations on Omni Death Planes.

And there’s more…

Not included in the complaint is that the Death Plane’s parent company, Air Transport Services Group, is a publicly-traded company. And its biggest shareholder is, meaning the world’s richest online retailer isn’t just wrapping packages, it’s complicit in WRAPping people as well, and trafficking them back to certain harm.

Click ABOVE to listen to the podcast. Click HERE for the episode transcript

Related Reading:

The WRAP Complaint: Civil Rights Complaint Reveals ICE Abuse of“The WRAP” Restraints to Facilitate Deportations to Cameroon

TheGrio: Black migrants tortured by ICE officers using ‘human restraint,’ DHS complaint says

San Diego Union-Tribune: Complaint alleges ICE tortured African asylum seekers using restraint device during deportation

Dallas Morning News: Civil rights complaint says African migrants were restrained shackled in cruel inhumane way

The Boston Globe: Tales of Torture from Asylum Seekers Caught up in America’s Deportation Hell

Medium: Like Boxcars in the Sky

The Guardian: US to send asylum seekers home to Cameroon despite ‘death plane’ warnings

Complaint filed by Freedom for Immigrants (FFI) alleging ICE torture of Cameroonian asylum seekers, November 2020

The Guardian: US Ice officers ‘used torture to make Africans sign own deportation orders

Complaint filed by FFI and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) alleging ICE torture of Cameroonian asylum seekers, October 2020

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Sarah Towle

Sarah Towle

Award-winning London-based author sharing her journey from outrage to activism one tale of humanity and podcast episode at a time @THE FIRST SOLUTION on Medium