Updated: March 1, 2021
The Trump administration is planning to deport a 48-year old Nigerian who has been in the United States for 34 years and cannot talk.
Francis Anwana, who lives in Detroit at an adult foster care facility, helping mow the lawns and mop the floors at a nearby church, cannot talk, has severe cognitive disabilities and would certainly die in Nigeria if deported.
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It would be a virtual “death sentence” for him, USA Today quoted Susan Reed, an attorney with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, as saying.
The newspaper said “because of his disability, Anwana can only read at a second-grade level and is unable to mentally grasp the fact he could be forced to go back to Nigeria, according to advocates and his lawyer”.
On Wednesday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) informed Anwana he would be deported on Tuesday, Sept. 11, according to advocates for Anwana.
After the advocates raised concerns, ICE told them Friday that his deportation has been postponed. Anwana has a meeting with ICE set for Sept. 21.
“This removal is not imminent at this time,” Khaalid Walls, spokesman for the Michigan and Ohio office of ICE, said Friday, according to USA Today.
The newspaper quoted local advocates as saying that “several years ago, his visa was not renewed because he was often moved around from group homes and caretakers lost track of his case”.
They repeatedly tried to get him a path to citizenship, but failed. He has no criminal record, advocates say.
But he is not eligible to DACA because of his case, advocates say.
Anwana was born in a small village in the area of Lagos, Nigeria, one of about eight or 10 children, said Diane Newman, an educator who has assisted Anwana over the years.
“It was a very loving family,” Newman said. “But they understood they would not be able to provide him a life in Nigeria … as a handicapped person.”
The move to deport him has stunned advocates.
– With reports from USA Today