STATEMENT – USCRI Joins Letter to Stop Deportation of Eritreans
For Immediate Release:
December 11, 2017
ARLINGTON, VA –
The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) joined the ERITREA 700 — URGENT LETTER led by The America Team for Displaced Eritreans and signed by 67 additional NGO’s in support of approximately 700 Eritreans whose removal from the U.S. the Department of Homeland Security, by way of a September 13, 2017 order, has taken measures to facilitate.
The letter reads in part, “We believe, and we can cite numerous authorities to confirm, that those removed to Eritrea would likely be tortured or killed by the Eritrean regime. We also believe that any such removal not only would be egregiously inhumane, but would violate the United Nations Convention Against Torture and the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees to which the U.S. is party.”
“In recent years, few Eritreans – even those who had lost their asylum claims – have been deported from the U.S. The reason appears to have been that the Eritrean government had generally refused to cooperate with the deportations – specifically, had refused to issue travel documents for the individuals who were under final removal orders. In its September 13 directive, DHS sought to remedy that situation by causing the State Department to issue a broad ban on in-bound visas from Eritrea to the U.S., as a means of pressuring the Eritrean regime to issue the travel documents for deportees.”
“…almost no other country is willing to deport Eritreans to Eritrea. The sole or principal exception is Sudan – an outlaw state, whose president is under an international arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for having committed crimes against humanity. For the U.S. to now deport Eritreans to Eritrea would make the U.S. and Sudan possibly the only countries to do so. We again request urgently that you suspend all removals to Eritrea until the country is safe for those being returned.”
The letter has been sent to Secretary Nielsen-DHS, and copied to: Secretary Tillerson-DOS; Acting Director Homan-USCIS; Ambassador Haley-UN and the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House Homeland Security Committees.
In December 2015, USCRI led a fact-finding mission to Ethiopia and heard the desperate stories of youth in particular who had fled the Eritrean regime. Our report and recommendations are here.
For over 100 years, USCRI has protected the rights and addressed the needs of persons in forced or voluntary migration worldwide and supported their transition to a dignified life.