Mamadu Aliu Balde (A# 077-563-400), needs our help right now! Ali came to the United States over a decade ago, after escaping the horrific violence of the civil war in his native country of Sierra Leone, West Africa, where he was separated from his mother, father, and youngest sister, never to see them again. Arriving to the U.S extremely traumatized and unable to speak or understand English, Ali relied heavily on other African immigrants and those in our immigration department to help him seek asylum. He has done everything required of him to the best of his abilities, always cooperating with the Immigration courts and providing documentation regarding his asylum and marriage applications, as advised by legal counsel. He has learned the English language, has been successfully employed over the years, and has consistently paid his taxes. He has worked very hard to build a life here with a new family who loves and cares for him. His deepest desire is to attain permanent residency in the United States.
Three years ago, Ali and I met and fell in love. We were married in December 2010 and just celebrated our 1st anniversary. Ali is such a kind and gentle man. He has truly become a part of my family, and he has been a tremendous source of support for me. This past summer, I became very ill and have since endured two surgeries, with multiple hospital stays. As a result of taking several medical leaves and exhausting all of my FMLA, I lost my job with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, after being employed for five years. I continue to endure serious chronic health issues that require continued medical care and further testing, without the benefit of health insurance or any government assistance. Ali’s employment has been my main source of financial and emotional support, as all of my other family members live out of state.
Unfortunately, after almost 13 years in the United States, countless hours appearing in Immigration courts, and thousands of dollars for legal fees, Ali’s final appeal for asylum was denied and he was detained last week to begin the deportation process, without the opportunity to continue our marriage case from home. This is absolutely heart-breaking for all of us. He has been a productive member of society, while battling a broken system destined for failure. I understand there is a definite need for immigration laws and I fully support them, but to penalize a man who has lived here for over a decade, who has a family here, and who has honestly tried to do the right thing is a tremendous injustice. In June 2011, the Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Morton, issued a memo to enforcement and removal personnel for guidance in exercising prosecutorial discretion for the apprehension, detention, and removal of aliens. Mamadu Aliu Balde deserves for ICE to favorably exercise prosecutorial discretion in his case. The immigration system is failing to protect human rights and provide a life of freedom for many deserving individuals.
Every day that Ali is held in detention, I have to manage without his strength and support. I am now facing eviction, losing my car, and bankruptcy. Furthermore, I am in danger while living alone with my current medical condition. I have thousands of dollars in college loans that I cannot even begin to repay, as I am unemployed and disabled. I can’t imagine what will happen to both of us if he is deported back to Sierra Leone. I am asking that he be permitted to remain in his current residence in the United States and continue to support his wife, until our marriage application can be processed. Please help save our family.
If you agree that Mamadu Aliu Balde should be released from detention and stay in the U.S. with his family, please sign the petition and spread the word by sharing it on Facebook.