Congressman continues to fight for deaf Nigerian immigrant


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A Michigan congressman continues to fight for a Nigerian immigrant to stay in the United States.

It’s an effort that’s lasted months now and those leading the movement say they’re not giving up hope.

In September, Congressman Dan Kildee (D – Flint) introduced a bill that would make Francis Anwana a permanent resident of the U.S.

But since it didn’t pass before the end of the year, he now has to introduce it again to lawmakers.

Anwana is deaf, can’t speak, and has cognitive disabilities, and that’s why Kildee and others won’t stop fighting for him.

“Just in a basis of humanity, it makes sense to do this,” said Kildee.

In 1983, Francis Anwana came to the United States on a student visa at only 13 years old. He’s now 48 and that’s why Congressman Kildee says it doesn’t make sense to deport him.

“Francis Anwana’s case is very unique, again as I said, came here as a child, couldn’t communicate, learned American Sign Language. This is the only country he knows
,” said Kildee.

Diane Newman, Anwana’s first teacher in the U.S., is at the forefront of the movement trying to keep him here.

“This is not so much an immigration issue as it is more of a humanitarian issue
,” said Newman.

She says they’ve received support from educators, immigration advocates, and just everyday people, and says she won’t stop fighting for him being that he can’t do so for himself.

“He wants and desires to stay in the United States and because of his unique situation, should be allowed to stay in the United States
,” said Newman.

In the meantime, Congressman Kildee is working on reintroducing the bill.

“There are circumstances where this wouldn’t be appropriate, but in his case, where it’s very clear that he simply wouldn’t survive unless he’s allowed to stay here,” said Kildee.

Based on Anwana’s unique case, he says it’s only right.

“He knows no one back home in Nigeria. It would essentially be a death sentence to send him back there,” said Kildee.

In September 2017, I.C.E. granted Anwana the right to stay in the United States for one year.

The bill Congressman Kildee is working on must be considered by Congress in order to pass. If it doesn’t, Anwana will be deported to Nigeria.

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