Miracles have happened. On Friday, February 2nd Menelik was unexpectedly released from the Northwest ICE Detention Center in Tacoma, WA under supervision. He and Kim are now together and living in their home. Menelik has mandatory check-ins and has already completed one. But they are together.
Another miracle is that they were able to hire a lawyer and submit a case to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The case is pending; however, Menelik can still be deported at any time. That's the sad truth of the situation still. Lots of paperwork is on the road ahead as well.
A final miracle is the support of everyone. Kim, Menelik, and myself are all humbled by the outpouring of help from everyone. Thank you doesn't seem to enough, but thank you.
WHAT HAD HAPPENED
Menelik Zewdu was being held in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA. On Monday, September 25th Menelik was taken into custody and is still awaiting deportation to Ethiopia if a case cannot be upheld for his continued residency in the United States. He's an immigrant who, like so many stories lately, has been taken into custody and is being treated like a high security criminal with less rights than U.S. prisoners have. Yet he is far from a criminal.
The road ahead is very bleak and foreboding. On Monday, January 22rd the motion to reopen his case was denied by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). To be able to fight for his freedom, Kim, his wife and one of my dearest friends, and Menelik have hired a lawyer to appeal his case at the US Court of Appeals at the 9th Circuit.
WHY IS THERE URGENCY
So why is there an immediate urgency to his case as so many immigrants are being targeted right now? From the 22nd of January, there is only 30 days to get a lawyer and to file his case at the Ninth Circuit level. Time crunch.
HOW CAN YOU HELP
All donations will be used to pay for the lawyer fees to fight this injustice. Also funds will be used by Kim and Menelik with the loss of his income while he was held in the detention center. Funds have gone to hiring and paying their lawyer and an expert (estimated at $15,000), court fees, and gas money from before.
Letters. Please write Washington State Senators and Representatives (Pramila Jayapal, Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell) to request a bill be written to allow Menelik to stay in the U.S. This is not unheard of, but extremely rare. Also write letters to both Menelik and Kim as they need encouragement and hope now more than ever.
Prayers. Pray for a miracles. Pray for the impossible.
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