A deportation flight bound for Somalia and carrying 92 Somali nationals never actually landed in the country and instead was returned to the U.S. because of logistical issues.

An Immigrations and Customs Enforcement spokesperson confirmed the flight initially landed in the West African nation of Senegal Thursday and was rerouted to Miami.

A number of the deportees were Somali nationals who had been living in Minnesota, including two attempting as recently as last week to gain a court-ordered reprieve.

KSTP reported last week on attorney Kim Hunter’s efforts on behalf of five men to prevent or delay the deportations while the men continued the process of gaining legal status. Two of the five men ended up on the plane that departed Louisiana Thursday.

An ICE statement said that while stopped over in Dakar, Senegal, to refuel and exchange pilots, a relief crew was unable to get sufficient rest “due to issues with their hotel in Dakar.”

“Various logistical options were explored, and ultimately ICE decided to reschedule the mission to Somalia and return to the United States with all 92 detainees,” the statement read.

The deportees were in Miami until further notice.

Meanwhile, a judge last week temporarily halted the deportation of Yonis Ali, a sidewalk inspector for the city of Minneapolis who came to the U.S. 22 years ago.

Ali’s lawyer asked the judge to stop the deportation so he could continue going through the process to gain legal status. His supervisor at the city wrote a letter saying he was an employee in good standing.

Another Somali national who had lived in Minnesota, Abubakar Sheikh, was pulled off the plane at the last minute and allowed to stay.

Dhiibo Fikirkaaga

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