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Cameroonian asylum seekers deported by the Trump administration in 2019 and 2020 were imprisoned, raped and tortured once they returned, and many were forced to hide or flee Cameroon, according to a new Human Rights Watch report. Immigration and Customs Enforcement increased its deportations of African migrants, especially Cameroonians, in the last months of the Trump administration. In October and November alone, over 80 of them were flown to Cameroon after signing documents the ICE detainees believe they were coerced and manipulated to do. Lawyers and human rights groups had warned that those sent back could face persecution. The Guardian
In other national immigration news…
Kansas County Approves Photo IDs for Immigrants and Other Vulnerable Residents
Following a split vote, Wyandotte County, Kansas, commissioners approved the issuing of municipal photo IDs to immigrants and other vulnerable residents. The county board voted 6-4 to offer the IDs under what is called the Safe and Welcoming Wyandotte Act. Advocates applauded the move, saying it will protect immigrants and those who are homeless. Yazmin Bruno Valdez, a community organizer for Advocates for Immigrant Rights and Reconciliation, says 20% of Wyandotte County residents do not have a photo ID. Valdez added that she spent more than 20 years without photo ID and frequently felt marginalized because of it. KCUR
Many Asylum Seekers Believe Flying to Mexico is Their Ticket to the U.S.
A WhatsApp group called “Venezuelans to the US” has been abuzz with people asking how to obtain a Mexican visa and what consulates offer the earliest appointments. Some posts in the group offer free assistance, while others warn people against fraudulent schemes. A post last month in the group chat offered a guide to the Mexican border city of Mexicali and across the border for $1,800, including food and lodging, with the warning that Mexican authorities would seize their passports and then return them for $100. Once the groups arrive at Mexicali, they cross the border and surrender to U.S. agents, thus avoiding the dangers of traveling through Mexico and other countries over land and bypassing U.S. asylum restrictions. AP News
Afghan Diplomats on the Brink of Losing Their Jobs in the U.S. Seek Permits to Remain in the Country
In October, American banks suspended the accounts of Afghan diplomats in the U.S. to prevent the Taliban from gaining access to the Afghanistan’s embassy funds. And since then, diplomats working in the embassy in Washington and consulates in New York and Los Angeles haven’t been paid. Now, the Afghan diplomats in the United States face another grim prospect: losing their salaries and possible deportation. In the event that the embassy closes before the diplomats receive asylum or other legal residency, they could find themselves with nowhere to go, and without the necessary employment permits to get another job. New York Times