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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement fired back with facts at Rep. Ilhan Omar’s “grave concerns” over a deportation flight to Somalia.
The agency responded to the Minnesota Democrat in a letter after she condemned the “pure cruelty” of alleged planned deportations of many Somali nationals from her state. The congresswoman slammed the move, warning that the transport of any passengers who may be infected with the coronavirus could be “catastrophic” for Somalia, but ICE provided a stinging reality check on the deportees.
“Today’s flight to Somalia included the removal of dangerous criminals,” ICE tweeted with an image of the letter to Omar from Acting ICE Director Tony Pham.
In fact, 36 out of 39 Somalis on the flight had criminal histories, including murder, rape and crimes against children, according to the letter.
“This week, ICE removed 39 Somalia nationals, 36 of whom have criminal histories,” Pham said in the letter to Omar. “These crimes include murder, rape, domestic violence, assault, sexual assault, crimes against children, drug trafficking, and conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.”
Today’s flight to Somalia included the removal of dangerous criminals. Read more ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/E2bWzcj708
— ICE (@ICEgov) September 19, 2020
He also noted the backgrounds of the cases, telling Omar that the list “should give you reason to applaud the good work ICE has done to protect the American people, including the people of the State of Minnesota.”
Omar declared that ICE “must be held accountable” in a tweet last week responding to reports of the then-impending flight.
“Deporting immigrants during a pandemic is cruel — but deporting immigrants infected with COVID-19 and exporting the virus to other countries is on an entirely different level of inhumane,” she wrote, citing a Roll Call report.
The far-left Democrat, who has been vocal about abolishing ICE, was joined by human rights lawyers and others who came out against the planned deportation flight.
“We have now learned that at least one detainee has tested positive for COVID-19 and that others are showing symptoms,” Omar told Roll Call last week. “Let’s be clear — deporting people who have COVID-19 is pure cruelty — not just for the individuals themselves, but for the countless who could contract the illness. And we know that ICE has done this before.”
The congresswoman, who was welcomed to the U.S. as a young refugee from Somalia, noted that the African nation with a population of 15 million, only has about 15 intensive care unit beds available.
“If ICE tries to deport people who don’t have recent negative tests, they’re violating their agreement with the Somali government,” Omar said, noting that the Somali government has refused to receive any deportees who are COVID-19 positive.
“The consequences could be absolutely catastrophic,” she said.
But Pham noted in his letter that ICE “does not generally remove aliens who are not fit for travel, which includes any detainee confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19.”
He also noted that one of the passengers had tested positive for the virus, and was removed from the passenger list. But that list of passengers being deported included those convicted of second-degree murder, rape, indecent liberties and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
“ICE is cooperating with the Government of Somalia’s requirement to test all Somali nationals being repatriated,” the letter stated. “Any ICE detainee who fails to pass screening by a flight medical provider and/or is suspected of having a health condition potentially contagious to other detainees, staff, and/or third parties is denied boarding and referred to an ICE-approved facility for further screening and evaluation.”
Omar’s complaint about the deportation of Somali nationals sparked a counter attack on Twitter where many called her out for her priorities.
You should fight for US citizens the way you fight for illegals
— John Palmay (@johnpalmay) September 18, 2020
Exactly. Liberals reserve all their compassion for perpetrators of crime and basically decide for victims when trauma debts have been repaid. I don’t know how people like this, who champion rapists and child molesters, sleep at night…
— Gwen Duran (@GwenDur31450245) September 21, 2020
Countries sending their infected citizens here is not cruel, but sending them back home is cruel?
My taxes help pay to repair the cities your supporters destroy & the unemployed they create as well as housing, feeding & supplying medical care to those here illegally.
— Chip (@ChipDeusVult) September 18, 2020
Thank you @ICEgov for protecting the people of America even when. It’s not popular to do so. Patriots stand with you.
— Kari Rohde (@RohdeKari) September 19, 2020