A deaf and disabled Nigerian immigrant is facing deportation after 34 years in the United States. Anwana, 48, lives in Detroit at an adult foster care facility, helping mow the lawns and mop the floors at a nearby church.
According to reports, Francis Anwana born and raised in Nigeria, Francis Anwana was just 14 years old when he came to the United States on a student visa. He was deaf, couldn’t talk, and had cognitive disabilities, enrolling at the Michigan School for the Deaf in Flint.
But in a shock to immigrant advocates, the U.S. now wants to deport Anwana to Nigeria. Given his severe disabilities, it would be a virtual “death sentence” for him, said Susan Reed, an attorney with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center.
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 told 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.
Several years ago, his visa was not renewed because he was often moved around from group homes and caretakers lost track of his case, said local advocates. They repeatedly tried to get him a path to citizenship, but failed. He has no criminal record, advocates say.