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Van Hollen Urges Halt to Deportations

November 9th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

Following reports of another deportation flight to Cameroon scheduled for tomorrow, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) sent a letter on Friday to Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, urging the Administration to halt deportation actions on Cameroonian asylum-seekers until violence in Cameroon has abated. Senator Van Hollen recently led a letter with three of his colleagues outlining their deep concern around reports of ICE deporting Cameroonian asylum-seekers fleeing from extreme danger.

“I was deeply troubled to learn of another flight that is scheduled to remove more asylum-seekers to Cameroon on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. I have been advised that at least three individuals expected to be on the flight have pending legal motions that would not be adjudicated before the individuals’ forcible removal from the U.S.,” said Senator Van Hollen.

The Senator continued, “I urge you to halt these deportation actions until the surge in violence in Cameroon has subsided and any appeals can be heard. Otherwise, you will be putting the lives of these Maryland residents’ individuals at risk and undermining the core rationale of our asylum laws — providing refuge for people facing politically inspired persecution and violence.”

Senator Van Hollen pressed the urgency of the situation, noting, “My office has received a flood of calls from community members, legal advocates, and others from around the country who are deeply concerned about the potential fate of those scheduled to be on this flight. As you may be aware, the unrest in Cameroon is escalating and is becoming increasingly volatile and dangerous.”

The Senator closed the letter by pointing to the harrowing reality these asylum-seekers face, writing, “I have also been advised that a number of those on the October 13, 2020 ICE flight to Cameroon either now live in hiding for fear of their lives or have not been heard from since leaving the U.S. The situation is so dire that some of the family members of those being removed tell me that their loved ones ‘would rather die in ICE custody than be deported to Cameroon.’ Many of those scheduled to be removed on November 10 have lost family members in Cameroon at the hands of the police because they dared to seek asylum in the U.S.”