United States Abuses Cameroonian Asylum Seekers Before Deporting Them Back To Persecutors

The case is filed and pending in the District Court of the District of Columbia.

The plaintiffs in this case are Cameroonian men who were held in a remote immigration detention center in rural Louisiana after applying for asylum in the United States. Detention center officers pepper sprayed them and threw them in solitary confinement for peacefully protesting racist targeting by guards and denial of medical care. U.S. officials then deported the men, tying up several of them in a full-body restraint device called the WRAP for their hours-long trans-Atlantic flight. Once their flight landed in Cameroon, U.S. officials illegally facilitated access to their asylum documents by Cameroonian officials, who imprisoned them as traitors. A 2022 report detailed the experiences of the plaintiffs and others who endured similar abuses.

Why is this a key case?

Black immigrants are especially vulnerable to abuse in immigration detention, as noted with concern by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Black people in immigration detention are more than six times more likely to be locked away in solitary confinement than other racial groups. Black immigrants are also more likely to suffer prolonged and arbitrary immigration detention, including longer periods of detention and lesser likelihood of release on bond or parole than individuals of other races.

In the last decade, reports have emerged of egregious physical abuse on deportation flights, including accounts of U.S. officials using beatings, taser shocks, “body bag”-like restraint devices, shackles, and denying access to the bathroom during lengthy flights.

How is RFK Human Rights supporting?

RFK Human Rights, alongside the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Texas A&M School of Law Civil Rights Clinic and Immigrant Rights Clinic, represents the plaintiffs in their lawsuit.

Name of the case (as it appears in the respective legal mechanism)

J.K.A. et al. v. United States of America et al., 1:23-cv-02273 (D.D.C. filed Aug. 7, 2023);

K.N.N et al. v. United States of America et al., 1:23-cv-02748 (D.D.C. filed Sept. 19, 2023)

Month/Year of filing

August and September 2023

Legal mechanism in which the case is being litigated

U.S. Federal District Court, District of Columbia

Rights and legal instruments alleged violated (or found to have been violated)

Administrative Procedures Act, Federal Tort Claims Act, and laws of the state of Louisiana and District of Columbia

Procedural stage



Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Center for Constitutional Rights and the Texas A&M School of Law Civil Rights Clinic and Immigrant Rights Clinic