5000-mile backtrack

Ninety-two Somali citizens were flown out of the US under orders of deportation on Thursday, but their plane never made it to Somalia. The flight landed in the West African country of Senegal and, facing logistical problems, was rerouted back to the US.

  • Published 11.12.17
  •  

New York: Ninety-two Somali citizens were flown out of the US under orders of deportation on Thursday, but their plane never made it to Somalia. The flight landed in the West African country of Senegal and, facing logistical problems, was rerouted back to the US.

It was an unexpected, 5,000-mile backtrack for the migrants, some of whom have lived in the US for years, or even decades, while on a list for deportation because they had entered the country without proper documentation.

In recent weeks, dozens of Somali citizens were transported from their homes in the US - many were living in Minnesota - to Louisiana in preparation for the flight. A few, with the help of lawyers, managed to secure stays of removal.

The 92 on the plane got only as far as Senegal's capital, Dakar, according to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In an emailed statement on Friday, the agency said it was notified that a relief flight crew was "unable to get sufficient crew rest due to issues with their hotel in Dakar", so the aircraft and detainees spent time parked at the airport there.

War, famine and disease have killed hundreds of thousands of people in Somalia since the central government collapsed in 1991. Militants, including members of the Shabab, a terrorist group, are still carrying out deadly attacks in the Horn of Africa country.

Kim Hunter, a lawyer whose firm represents two men who were on the flight, said it did not make sense to send her clients back to such a dangerous country.

New York Times News Service

About
Author