Sad story:A Knock on the Door, Deported-A Kenyan Immigrant’s Nightmare
|There are many tragic stories of illegal immigrants. Some are of parents being deported and leaving their American born children behind. Some are of parents who chose to take their children with them, waiting for the day immigration will become legal and they can return to the US with their children. |
But my friend’s brother was legal. He was legal under the law. The problem was how he had become legal. I have heard stories before. A few years ago many Kenyans in Georgia were arrested in a scheme that involved social security. According to reports, the case involved a Nigerian “Business’ Man. But my friend’s story caught my attention because he was legal with all the rights and privileges of being legal!
I met the guy in Nairobi. I thought he was there on a regular family visit. Not to be! “I got out of work, sat on the couch and turned the TV on. I got myself a drink and was relaxing when I heard a knock on the door”. He narrated the story. He explained that the guy at the door wore a black suit, white shirt and a bluish tie. When he opened the door, he saw an official budge hanging from the neck. “Are you James Mwangi?” The officer asked. “Yes I am. Can I help you?” He said in a typical American hospitality welcome. “Yes indeed. Can I come in?” The man at the door requested humbly. “Yes please come in”. My Kenyan friend responded.
He looked out the back window and saw another well – dressed man with a gun manning the back door. “He said they were from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). They put hand curves on me.” He continued. After a conversation, the officer asked him the most chilliing words of his life. “Do you want to take anything with you? You are not coming back.” The officer said in a matter of fact way. He allowed him to take his laptop, a shirt and phone.
After that, he was in the back of a cruiser going to detention. “Let me tell you.” He explained to me, “I have never imagined the nightmare I went through for the next 3 months!” He told me in a way that made me think he was still living the story in his mind. I wanted to know why a legal immigrant would find himself in such a position. The man was doing well. He was a senior person in one of American hotel chains. He had a wife and children who are American Citizens! But here he was in Nairobi trying to go back in time to somehow re write his story, or change events or something. I did not want to push him therefore I let him sit there silently. I continued to have my latte and watched him as he tried to start the narrative of why he was back home having nothing to show for the many years he was working hard from state to state. I waited for the narrative. When he started, it was long! To be continued . . .
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD), SYR Radio/TV Director, International Desk. Imanisha