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Trump Administration to Deport Ethiopian Refugee Denied Asylum under the President's Asylum Ban

Human rights reports show that the Ethiopian security forces are targeting Oromos

President Trump's asylum rule operated as a virtual ban on asylum at the southern border

Due to President Trump's Third-Country Transit Asylum ban, an untold number of refugees fleeing war and human rights abuses are set to be deported from the U.S.

The Trump Administration unilaterally reversed our country's legal and moral commitment to protect those fleeing danger”— Lee Gelernt, Director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights ProjectWASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, January 7, 2021 / -- The Trump Administration’s Third-Country Transit Asylum ban, issued as an interim final rule on July 16, 2019, effectively bans asylum for the vast majority of refugees seeking protection at the U.S. southern border. On July 6, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction in East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Barr against the Third-Country Transit Asylum rule. Despite this, refugees denied asylum before the injunction still face deportation proceedings.

26-year-old Mohammed Hussein Abdo, a member of the persecuted Oromo ethnic group, is reportedly scheduled to be deported on Monday, January 11, 2021. As reported by Amnesty International in the May 29, 2020 report titled, Ethiopia: Rape, extrajudicial executions, homes set alight in security operations in Amhara and Oromia, “Ethiopian security forces committed horrendous human rights violations including burning homes to the ground, extrajudicial executions, rape, arbitrary arrests, and detentions, sometimes of entire families.” Mr. Abdo fled Ethiopia after being arrested and physically abused by members of the Ethiopian security force for the crime of organizing a peaceful protest to condemn the Ethiopian government’s arrest and detention of opposition political leaders.

Besides the Amnesty International report, the extrajudicial arrests and killings of Oromos is well-known and well-documented. In 2017, the United States House of Representatives passed House Resolution 128, which among other things, condemned the use of excessive force by Ethiopian security forces and noted the reports of widespread human rights abuses against the Oromo people. Sadly, House Resolution 128, so far, has not brought to bear the peace and safety the Oromo people seek.

On August 22, 2020, 19 members of Congress, including Representative Eliot Engel (D: NY), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Representative Karen Bass (D: CA), Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, expressed their grave concern to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the Ethiopian security force’s abuse and ethnic and religious violence against the Oromo people. Still, human rights organizations continue to document the systematic killings of Oromos. The Oromo Legacy Leadership and Advocacy Association (OLLAA) documented the killings of 74 Oromos in November 2020 alone.

Mr. Abdo arrived in the United States and requested asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on January 23, 2020. Mr. Abdo was placed in detention in San Diego, CA. As a result of new statutory requirements established due to President Trump’s Third-Country Transit Asylum ban, Mr. Abdo’s asylum request was denied. Now Mr. Abdo is scheduled to be deported to Ethiopia. OLLAA calls upon President Trump, the members of the U.S. Congress Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, Mr. Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, and Mr. Jonathan Fahey, the Acting Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to step in and stop the deportation of Mr. Abdo and other refugees from deportation.

For all inquiries relating to this press release, please contact:

Blossom Rolly
Von Batten-Montague-York, L.C.
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