Somali nationals deported from the US arrive in Mogadishu. (Somali National News Agency — SONNA)
A group of 50 Somali nationals deported from the United States arrived in Mogadishu on Friday, officials says.
The Somali ambassador to United States, Ahmed Isse Awad, told VOA Somali that the 50 deportees are the second group to be sent to Mogadishu this month.
“There were 50 people deported; 30 of them were removed due to criminal cases against them, 20 had their asylum applications rejected,” he said.
Samir Abdirahman Arab was among the Somali nationals who were deported.
“The judge ordered our deportation and has issued the removal order,” he told VOA Somali.
Arab, who was detained in Atlanta, Georgia, for three months, was then taken to Florence, Arizona, where the plane carrying the deportees departed to Mogadishu via Dakar, Senegal, and Nairobi, Kenya.
Arab came to the U.S. in January 2016 after traveling from Somalia to Brazil, and then north to the U.S. border.
“In total, I spent $28,000 for my trip to the United States,” he said.
Asked what he is going to do next, Arab said, “I don’t have a plan, I don’t even know where to start.”
A friend who was deported with him, Salman Mohamed Duale, spent $30,000 for a similar route. Both have accused the Somali embassy in the United States of playing a role in their deportation.
Ambassador Awad denies this.
“The embassy cannot deport them, cannot order their removal,” Awad said. “Likewise, we cannot issue legal status to them in this country. If we had this power, we would have given all Somalis legal permits.”
He said the U.S. government has the authority to make decisions on who is to stay and who is to be removed from this country. “All we do is issue travel documents to those approved by a judge to be removed.”
This is the fourth group of Somalis deported from the U.S. this year.
The deportees have told VOA that they were handcuffed and had their legs chained throughout the trip from the United States.