Why Did Obama Deport 85 Muslim Asylum Seekers?
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has sparked backlash and controversy with his proposals to ban Muslims from entering the United States—including refugees and asylum seekers. But deporting Muslim asylum seekers is nothing new. This week, the Obama administration deported 85 Muslim asylum seekers from Bangladesh, India and Nepal who were seeking asylum after fleeing repression and violence in their home countries. Some of the men deported from Corrections Corporations of America’s Florence Correctional Center in Arizona on Sunday night had participated in a series of hunger strikes last year to protest their ongoing detention by ICE, the Immigration Customs and Enforcement agency, and demand their release from for-profit detention centers. Some of the men have been detained for years. Following the deportation, an ICE official told Democracy Now!: "All of those on last weekend’s flight had been provided the opportunity to present their cases in immigration court, were issued final orders of removal, and had no outstanding stays that would prohibit their removal."
Watch an interview with Fahd Ahmed, executive director of Desis Rising Up & Moving, or DRUM, a New York-based organization of South Asian immigrant workers and youth. After the deportation, Ahmed said, "The Obama administration just deported nearly 100 South Asian detainees who crossed three continents seeking safety in the U.S. What happens to them next is blood on his hands."