Immigration

ICE Deports Guinean Immigrant Before He Can Testify in Jail Abuse Lawsuit

Mory Keita was involved in two cases against the government, including an ACLU suit challenging ICE and a case alleging abuse by Butler County Jail guards.

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Last week, the U.S. government sent Mory Keita to a country he hasn't lived in since he was three years old. Brought to the U.S. from Guinea as a small child and now in his early 30s, Keita lived here undocumented for about three decades and has a daughter who is an American citizen.

This didn't stop Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from pushing for Keita's removal—a scenario that has become all too common under zero-tolerance immigration policies. What makes Keita's deportation extra jarring is that he was part of two cases alleging abuse by government authorities, including one filed against ICE by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and one alleging assaults on two immigrants by Ohio jail staff.

Keita was a key witness in the latter lawsuit, which was brought by Ahmed Adem and Bayong Brown Bayong. All three men were detained earlier this year at the Butler County Jail, just north of Cincinnati, where Adem and Bayong were cellmates. Local authorities were keeping them behind bars on behalf of ICE.

"Bayong, a refugee from Cameroon, came to the United States to escape brutal conditions in his own country, with hope for safety," his lawyers write in a preliminary statement to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. "Instead, he continues to be physically beaten by correctional officers while detained by ICE for civil immigration detention at Butler County Jail."

Bayong alleges at least three beatings by jail guardsincluding one in August while he was infected with COVID-19and claims that guards made "threats such as 'I hope you die bitch' and, after being pushed down the stairs, 'When you get down the stairs, I am going to beat all the teeth from your mouth.'" At one point, the suit says, Bayong was taken to an isolation cell where a correctional officer "punched Mr. Bayong with closed fists all over his face and head" as two other guards watched. Bayong lost a tooth.

The lawsuit also alleges that guards repeatedly beat Adema Muslim of Somali and Ethiopian descent who "has lived in the United States since he was young" and "considers the United States to be his home"and called him a "fucking terrorist," with one guard almost throwing his prayer rug in the toilet before another guard intervened

Adem, who was also in civil immigration detention, was "beaten until his face was swollen," the suit alleges. "Officers called Mr. Bayong and Mr. Adem numerous racial epithets, including 'dirty Africans,' 'monkeys,' and 'goats.'"

Mory Keita said he witnessed guards attacking Adem and Bayong and saw one push Bayong down a flight of stairs, causing him to hit his head on a concrete floor. And Keita was willing to testify to the court about what he saw.

The Adem and Bayong suitagainst Butler County, the jail, and county commissionerswas filed in federal court on December 8.

A week later, on December 15, Keita, Bayong, and Adem asked the court to stay his deportation as the case played out. That same day, Keita was transferred from Butler County Jail to an ICE facility in Louisiana.

Keita's lawyers filed an emergency petition asking U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black to intervene. But before Black could rule on the petition, the court was told that Keita had been put on a plane from Louisiana to Guinea.

If the "flight remains in and is scheduled to stop within the United States, the Court hereby ORDERS Petitioner to be removed from the flight and to remain in the United States, in the custody of ICE, pending his deposition testimony," Black ruled.

In addition to his involvement in the Adem and Bayong case, Keita was also one of three plaintiffs in a case the ACLU filed back in April. The suit challenged ICE's practice of holding immigrants for deportation in jail facilities where COVID-19 had been known to spread, and it accused ICE of facilitating the spread of COVID-19 between facilities and into the larger community.

The ACLU suit said Ohio's Morrow County Jail and Butler County Jail failed to adequately treat immigrant detainees for existing conditions, including asthma and thyroid cancer, and failed to adequately protect people against the coronavirus. It blasted ICE's policy of rounding up undocumented immigrants for deportation and then putting them in general population jails before they were transferred to immigrant-specific facilities to await deportation.

"Social distancing is simply impossible for immigrants in crowded detention centers," Freda Levenson of the ACLU of Ohio's said in a statement, calling the institutions "incubators of COVID-19" and "vectors for spread of disease into surrounding communities."

Keita and the other two detainees in the ACLU suit all had health conditions that could make COVID-19 more deadly. They were also civil detainees, "having either no, or low level criminal histories," the suit says. They all have ties to the Central and Southern Ohio community as well, and the suit argued that they should be released to await their deportation proceedings at home and that to do otherwise was a violation of due process.

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  2. Isn’t “Guinean” a racial slur?
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  3. Let this be a warning to children everywhere. Sneak into the U.S. at your own peril.

    1. Maybe a wall, like the one built in the West Bank, will discourage those kids from entering the US and facing prosecution. I think most libertarians support property rights for the US citizen living on the border more than any “freedom” of passage over private property.

      1. Even at the young age of three he should have known better. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

        1. The parents certainly should have known better, but democrats and immigration activists have told them for a decade now that if they set a foot in country they can stay.

          Really since 86.

          1. How dare you criticize something that happened while Reagan was president! He’s the patron saint of conservatism! You’re a traitor to your Party! Shame! Shaaaaaaaame!

            1. Reagan trusted democrats a little too much. They said they would fix immigration if he would blanket pardon. They lied. So boo on him for trying to be reasonable. It’s why we wanted some smash mouth this time to shut you fucking democrats up. Didn’t work you assholes run diarrhea of the mouth.

              1. Dude, being critical of Trump doesn’t equal being a Democrat. If you truly believe that then you’re either dishonest or very stupid.

                I’m going with both.

                1. Neo-Nazis hate Trump because he isn’t as effective or extreme as Hitler.

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                2. No, constantly and unequivocally supporting Democratic politicians in their campaigns for office and every single one of their policies without one exception makes you a Democrat.

                  Kinda like how sticking your erect penis in your underage daughter’s pussy makes you a pedophile. Or binge drinking before 9 AM makes you an alcoholic.

                3. Dude, being critical of Trump doesn’t equal being a Democrat.

                  You’re right; there are other people critical of Trump, like authoritarians, war mongers, and self-righteous pricks like McCain and Romney. Which category are you in?

        2. I get the point here, but this dude has had what, 2 decades of adulthood to go fill out the paperwork?

          No excuse for beating his ass in jail, but let’s not pretend like this guy hasn’t had opportunities to prevent these run-ins with ICE from happening.

          1. Maybe he had reasons to not fill out the paperwork. Regardless, deporting someone who has been in the country since they were three, over a lack of paperwork, isn’t what I would call justice.

          2. I don’t think there is any paper work he could have filled out to make himself legal. He was in a shit position that was not his fault.

            1. I am positive there is a process for people like him to legally apply for residency. That process might have downsides he wanted to avoid, and maybe his application would’ve gotten denied, but “fuck it I’ll just hang out here illegally forever” is hardly a good plan if you dislike dealing with ICE.

              1. Actually, no. Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for green cards. He would have to go to Guinea.

                1. Other than DACA. Remember DACA? Remember when you were still posting as cytotoxic and furiously beating your 2 and a half inch microchub to Obama on a daily basis about DACA? And then spent 4 years shitting your nappy about how it was illegal for Trumpy to rescind DACA because Obama’s executive orders are the permanent and immutable law of the land for eternity?

            2. I don’t think there is any paper work he could have filled out to make himself legal.

              Sure he could: he could have left the country and applied for an immigrant visa.

              You know, like every legal immigrant does, even when they come here as a child through “no fault of their own”.

              You know, like I had to.

              He was in a shit position that was not his fault.

              In addition to deliberately staying in the country illegally, he committed crimes and fathered a child outside of marriage.

              He created his “shit position” for himself.

          3. Applying for legal residency isn’t like applying for a driver’s license. It is a little bit more involved than that.

            Besides, a lot of the undocumented kids don’t even realize they are undocumented until they have a run-in with the law.

            1. Yeah I remember being 30 years old and never once having had to make use of my birth certificate, social security card, or tick a box indicating I was a legal US resident once in my entire life.

            2. Applying for legal residency isn’t like applying for a driver’s license. It is a little bit more involved than that.

              Correct. He would have had to leave the country and apply for an immigrant visa from abroad.

              You know, like kids who came to the US legally have to. Like legal immigrants do.

              Besides, a lot of the undocumented kids don’t even realize they are undocumented until they have a run-in with the law.

              So you are saying that there are millions of non-citizens in the US who falsely believe themselves to be citizens? Who think that they are entitled to voting, register to vote, and then vote in our elections, resulting in massive election fraud?

              Thanks for finally admitting it!

        3. “Even at the young age of three hehis parents should have known better. Good riddance to bad rubbish.” FTFY

          He also should have known better than to commit crimes, remain in the country illegally, fail to normalize his status, and father a child outside of marriage.

  4. I tried to find a media report of Mory Keita’s conviction. All I found was some DA’s press release mentioning some credit-card and ID theft scheme.

    It used to be the case that in a story reporting on a prisoner being deported for his crimes, the reporter would at least mention what those crimes were.

    1. That’s what I thought. Why were these guys locked up?

  5. This story has already been debunked and is merely a baseless smear of hard-working government officials, totally without evidence. I for one am outraged at this reporting on wrongdoing by members of our most sacred institutions. Why does Reason foment this distrust of our democracy?

    1. Could you please be more specific what part was debunked? Was he not deported? Was he not part of two suits?

      1. It was a dig about the election results.

        1. Hey remember the other day when you said that Biden’s election gave you 100% confidence and trust in our public institutions again?

  6. Sounds like a good idea. Perhaps this should be incorporated into standard operating procedures.

  7. The suit challenged ICE’s practice of holding immigrants for deportation in jail facilities where COVID-19 had been known to spread, and it accused ICE of facilitating the spread of COVID-19 between facilities and into the larger community.

    So, do y’all at the ACLU actually have a better idea about how to simultaneously stop holding people in these facilities and avoid having the people currently held in them from spreading COVID-19 to the larger community than deportation?

    Or is your lawsuit, you know, not actually about COVID-19 at all, but instead an attempt to shout a magic word really loud in hopes that a judge will stop the faithful execution of duly-enacted Federal laws?

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  9. He’s in the country illegally, committed crimes, and fathered an illegitimate daughter.

    Yet Reason pushes the ideas that this guy should be given preference over millions of law abiding, high skilled immigrants who want to come to the US but can’t.

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