ALEXANDRIA – After a brief lull, deportation flights have resumed to Haiti from the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) staging facility at Alexandria International Airport, a nexus for detention centers in the federal agency’s New Orleans region. In the past six months, more than 120 ICE Air Operations flights have departed from Central Louisiana. Four of them have gone to Haiti.
Concerns have risen that complaints of abuse and deprivation of due process on behalf of Black asylum seekers have never been adequately redressed. Immigrant advocates describe the “death flights” of Oct. 13 and Nov. 11, 2020, as forceful and unlawful deportations to the Republic of Cameroon, where they say the fleeing residents face near-certain death in sectarian violence.
An October 2021 complaint by a Cameroonian claiming torture in the Winn Detention Center in Winn Parish, and another in November 2022 regarding restricted attorney-client contact at LaSalle Detention Center in Jena have further worried immigrant rights watchdogs.
Documents immigration attorneys have obtained from multiple government agencies through a public records request reveal what they say is an anti-Black culture among management-level employees in the federal immigration bureaucracy.
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