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Columbus, OH — Right now Samba Diaw, a Columbus resident for more than twenty years, is in ICE custody and could be deported at any time. This morning his attorney Emily Brown, with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE), filed an emergency stay with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) on his behalf.
The plight of Black Mauritanians facing persecution, arrest, and slavery if deported to their native country has garnered recent attention in The Atlantic, Washington Post editorial board, and Columbus Dispatch. Prior administrations recognized the grave dangers these men and women face if deported to a country that does not even consider them to be citizens, and allowed them to remain in the United States on orders of supervision. The Trump Administration has upended all of that, insisting on deportation despite the dangers that await them and the costs to their families here in the United States. A backgrounder on the situation is available here.
“It is an affront to American values that the government is trying to deport Samba to a country where he will be subjected to slavery and torture,” said his attorney, Emily Brown of ABLE. “We call on ICE to stop the detention and deportation of Samba and the many other Mauritanians who have lived in our communities for decades.”
In recent weeks, at least one Black Mauritanian man, Seyni Diagne, was deported despite his grave illnesses and the circumstances that awaited him. Emergency stays filed on behalf of Abou Diallo and Ousmane Sy, two men from Cincinnati, were granted by the Board of Immigration Appeals. However, Diallo and Sy remain in detention–along with around twenty other Black Mauritanians in Ohio and forty nationwide–while their cases are being fought in the courts.
Ohio is home to the largest population of Black Mauritanians in the United States. Last week, a group of unions, faith groups, and community leaders sent a letter to the Ohio congressional delegation asking them to intervene and stop these wrongful deportations.