ICE arrests Somali immigrants, raising concerns in Clarkston
An advocacy organization says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says 10 Somali immigrants have been arrested in the Atlanta area, including arrests Clarkston.
A spokesperson for ICE confirmed two arrests, but said there hasn’t been any “special operation” in the city known for accepting thousands of immigrants and refugees.
Glory Kilanko, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Women Watch Afrika, Inc., said 10 Somalis – nine men, and one woman – have been arrested by ICE. She said they are “for the most part” refugees.
“They chose the last two weeks to just descend on Clarkston,” she said.
Bryan Cox, ICE’s spokesperson, disputed the claim that the people who were picked up are refugees.
“The claim that these are refugees is also false – these are unlawfully present foreign nationals who had their day in court and were ordered removed from country by a federal immigration judge,” he said. “As you may know, due to conditions in Somalia in prior years it was not possible to obtain travel documents and carry out removals there for a period of time. That is no longer the case as of about a year ago and the agency has been carrying out removals to Somalia for some time.”
Somalia’s ambassador to the U.S. recently told Voice of America that the government plans to deport 4,000 Somali nationals. To read the full story, click here. Cox said since Oct. 1, ICE has arrested and removed 230 individuals to Somalia.
Cox confirmed two specific arrests.
“Abdull Issak, an unlawfully present Somalian national, was taken into ICE custody April 11 pursuant to a final order of removal issued by a federal immigration judge in May 1998,” Cox said. “In addition, Mr. Issak has numerous criminal convictions in Dekalb County. Ibrahim Ahmed Musa, an unlawfully present Somalian national, was taken into ICE custody April 12 pursuant to a final order of removal issued by a federal immigration judge in June 1998.”
He added, “ICE continues to focus its limited enforcement resources toward individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. However, as [Homeland Security] Secretary [John] Kelly has made clear, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention, and if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”
Kilanko said the deportations are putting the lives of Somali immigrants at risk.
“It’s still not safe for people to return home, especially for those who have been here for many many years,” she said.
Many immigrants are on heightened alert because of President Donald Trump’s hard line positions on immigration. In February, ICE agents arrested undocumented immigrants along Buford Highway.