In a homeless shelter in Manhattan, an 8-year-old boy is walking to his room, carrying an awkward load in his arms, unfazed by screams from atroubledresident. The boy is a Nigerian refugee with an uncertain future, but he is beaming.
He can’t stop grinning because the awkward load is a huge trophy, almost as big as he is. This homeless third grader has just won his category at the New York Statechess championship.
Magdalene Menyongar’s day starts with a 5:30 a.m. conference call with women from her church. They pray together as Menyongar makes breakfast and drives to work, reflecting on everything they are thankful for.
But lately, the prayers have turned to matters of politics and immigration. They pray with increasing urgency for Congress or President Trump to act before Menyongar, 48, faces deportation to her native Liberia, where she fled civil war nearly 25 years ago.
In less than six weeks, the order that has allowed her and more than 800 other immigrants from the former American colony in West Africa to live in the United States for decades will end, the result of Trump’s decision last year to terminate a program that every other president since George H.W. Bush supported.
Come March 31, Menyongar will face a choice: Return to Liberia and leave behind her 17-year-old daughter, an American citizen, or stay in the United States, losing her work authorization and becoming an undocumented immigrant.
The family of Constantin Bakala gathered in downtown San Diego on Thursday to submit a petition with the federal government, with nearly 500 signatures, asking for their father not to be deported.
As soon as Friday the father of seven from the Democratic Republic of Congo may be returned to a country where he fears he’ll be killed. The family fled home in 2017 after they were tortured and poisoned because of Bakala’s calls for democracy, according to the family.
After a harrowing journey through some of Latin America’s most dangerous countries, including a shipwreck where they lost important documents for their asylum case, the family was separated upon arrival in the U.S. through the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Bakala was put in detention while his wife and kids were released on parole. His asylum petition was rejected, his family says, because he couldn’t get an attorney from inside detention until months into his case.