ICE halts deportation of deaf Nigerian man

US Immigration officials have decided to allow a deaf immigrant from Nigeria to stay in Michigan for another year. ICE decided to halt the deportation of 48–year old Francis Anwana who has been living in Michigan since he was 13 years old.

Anwana first came to Detroit to attend the Lutheran Residential School for the Deaf, and stayed in the state after his visa expired. His visa was never renewed because caretakers lost track of his case work as he was often moving between group homes, and he depends on others help due to his disabilities. Anwana is deaf, can’t speak, and has cognitive disabilities that makes him read at just a second-grade level.

Anwana’s story gained a lot of attention earlier this month, and caught the attention of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights as well as US Representative Dan Kildee, who introduced legislation to give Anwana permanent resident status.

In an official statement on the development, Kildee said: “This is an extremely positive development and gives us an opportunity to continue to pursue all options to ensure Francis can permanently stay in the U.S. I appreciate Immigration and Customs Enforcement using its discretion to let Francis remain in Michigan for another year due to his unique case. During this stay, I will continue to fight for Congress to pass my bill providing legal resident status for Francis so that he can stay in Michigan where he belongs. I am grateful to the thousands of people who have spoken up and shared Francis’ story over the past few weeks.”