Friday, February 3, 2012
Why Did an Asylum Seeker to the US End Up in a Liberian Prison? by Deepa Fernandes and Abdulai Bah January 31, 2012 tells what happened to one deportee from the United States. In 2007, Moriba Kamara came to the United States seeking asylum and was deported to Liberia in 2008. Upon arrival there, Kamara was labeled a security threat, treated like a convict, and locked up in a maximum-security prison. Investigative Fund reporters Deepa Fernandes and Abdulai Bah find that Kamara’s story is far from unique. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Secure Communities program — which has helped ramp up deportations from 165,168 in 2002 to 387,242 in 2010 — is supposed to deport only those with serious criminal backgrounds. But roughly 80 percent of these deportees had no criminal conviction or were guilty of only traffic violations or other low-level offenses. In this climate of increased pressure to deport, even asylum seekers like Kamara, who flee persecution, are criminalized. "I selected America for its human rights," Kamara says. "They treated me like I was the worst kind of criminal, and all I did was ask for asylum." In the end, Kamara was released from the Liberian prison through the efforts of a regional NGO. But what becomes of the estimated one million deportees that the Obama administration has removed over his three years in office?