ST. PAUL, Minn- The deportation of Somalis has recently increased within the United States, with more than 260 deported since last October.
Statistics from the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) show that a vast majority of those who are being deported are those who are failed asylum seekers within the US and not being deported for criminal action. For instance, the St. Paul ICE office, which serves Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, and Nebraska, reports that 60 of those deported were non-criminals who were still in the the process of seeking asylum within the United States, and failed that process. Twenty of the individuals deported through the St. Paul office, however, did have criminal convictions.
The Somali Embassy has sent letters to all those being deported, asking them to confirm that they intend to honor the deportation request prior to the embassy issuing travel documents. In a recent meeting with members of the Somali community, the Somali ambassador to the U.S. stated that Somalia has an obligation to take its citizens back. The increase in deportations of Somalis has caused an increase in illegal border crossings into Canada.
Currently, over 4,830 Somalis are pending final orders of deportation within the United States, with some 300 of those included coming from the St. Paul office. Part of this could possibly be the result of Minnesota being short handed an immigration court within Minnesota. This situation will be remedied this June with the opening of another immigration court.
Minnesota’s Democratic U.S. Senators and Representatives sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, which states among other things that deportations feed into an Al-Shabab narrative that “Somalis are unwelcome and unwanted in America.” State Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL-Minneapolis) launched an online petition urging President Trump to hold-off on deportations to Somalia, due to the current state of the country.