Complaints Allege Detention Abuse.

AuthorGoodman, James

C.A., THE INITIALS OF an asylum seeker from the African nation of Cameroon, came to the United States, in search of safe haven. Instead, since he arrived at a port of entry on the Southern border in November 2019, he has only experienced detention.

"I never thought an immigrant could be kept in jail," said C.A. in a recent telephone interview with The Progressive from the Adams County Correctional Center in Natchez, Mississippi.

C.A., like the seven other Cameroonians in a complaint filed this past October by immigrant rights groups with the Department of Homeland Security, is identified by only his initials, for fear of repercussions in his homeland.

The month before this grievance was filed, the complaint says, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and security officers employed by the private prison company CoreCivic beat the Cameroonians in an attempt to force them to sign travel documents. If a detainee refused to sign, his thumbprint was forcibly taken as a signature.

C.A, twenty-seven, says ICE and security officers were so intent on getting his thumbprint that they broke three of his fingers and physically abused him, kneeling on his body. He was pepper sprayed as well.

Another of the detainees, B.J., tells The Progressive that he felt like security officers were trying to strangle him as they tried to get his fingerprint. He has no doubt that being deported back to Cameroon could be deadly. Military police, he says, killed his cousin in B.J.'s...

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