Mothers of Somali nationals facing deportation speak out

A group of Somalian nationals were physically abused, restrained for long periods of time and denied access to a working bathroom during a deportation attempt that ultimately ended with the 92 men and women placed in a Florida detention center until further notice, according to a federal lawsuit filed against Immigrations and Customs Enforcement this week.

The lawsuit was successful in gaining a temporary restraining order against the group's deportation, though the mothers of two Minnesota men caught up in the proceedings spoke out Wednesday asking for more to be done to help their sons avoid persecution in a country they've never seen before.

"All last night I cried because nobody helped him," said Fardowsa Omer, the mother of one of the detainees, through a translator. "If he gets sent back he will get killed no question about that."

The thinking, according to immigration lawyers involved in the case, is that media coverage of the case raises the probability that deportees will be targeted by terrorist group Al Shabab or others. 

At least five men involved in the case are from Minnesota, and need to officially file for asylum if they want to permanently--or at least in the long term--avoid being put into custody or being deported. The group will know whether this is a possibility Jan. 2 at their next hearing in Miami.

Lawyers at the James H. Binger Center for New Americans at the University of Minnesota Law School joined with others at the Immigration Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law, Americans for Immigrant Justice and the Legal Aid Service of Broward County to file the original lawsuit. 

ICE, for their part, denies the allegations of abuse and misconduct, saying 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.” Representatives from the agency also mentioned that the detainees were seen by medical professionals and no injured were noted.