(KMSP) - Dozens of Minnesota families say they've been torn apart from their loved ones as they await deportation to Somalia in a detention facility.
Fox 9 has been following the cases of at least five Somali men from Minnesota who were arrested and ordered for deportation. Some of the detainees have reported inhumane treatment from federal agents, including broken bones and being shackled for hours.
Now even more families are saying they don't know what the status of their loved one is, fearing that they'll die back in Somalia.
Gathered in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Minneapolis Monday, mothers, wives, sisters, other family members and friends outlined the treatment of nearly a hundred men who were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and brought to a detention facility in Louisiana--all to be deported back to Somalia this weekend.
“We are hopeless, we are devastated. We don’t know what to do—we need help,” said Fardowsa Omar, whose son Fuad Dhuuh was hauled away by federal agents, leaving a wife and young children behind. “His brother was killed by Al-Shabab, and I’m afraid that he will be killed, too.”
Omar said she brought her children to Minnesota from war-torn Somalia when they were young, and the United States is the only country they've ever known. Now, she fears he'll be killed if he goes back.
Meanwhile, arrests of non-criminal immigration violators are soaring under the Trump administration.
ICE representatives said 92 people were set to leave from Louisiana on a flight back to Somalia but never made it. They apparently stopped in Senegal to re-fuel, but the crew needed more rest, with ICE agents deciding to reschedule the mission to Somalia and ultimately reroute to Miami.
Families have taken phone calls from men who were on the flight reporting that ICE agents have denied deportees food and medicine for over a day, with several allegedly receiving beatings from American officials aboard the flight.
One woman took a call from her husband, Mohamed Hussein, who said he's been shackled for hours.
Iman Osman said her husband was actually born in Canada and moved to Minnesota when he was one. She's due with their child in two weeks.
“We are in the process of him getting his birth certificate back from Canada, and we tried to get ICE to hold him off—just until we can get his birth certificate," she said. "He’s never been to Somalia before.”
ICE released a statement saying these allegations of abuse are categorically false. They say in part, "no one was injured during the flight, and there were no incidents or altercations that would have caused any injuries on the flight,” also mentioning that the detainees have been seen by medical professionals and no injured were noted.
Some of the men's attorneys are working on getting them emergency stays to get their immigration cases heard in court.
It's unclear if the men will all eventually get deported back to Somalia.