Support Augsburg Professor Mzenga Wanyama
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"Dr. Mzenga Wanyama, a University of Minnesota graduate and tenured professor of English at Augsburg University, who has resided in the Midwest for the last 26 years, attended a meeting Friday, March 9th to review his case and discuss "plans for removal" from the United States. ICE has required Dr. Wanyama, a native of Kenya, to comply with stringent guidelines including regular visits to the ICE headquarters in St. Paul every one to three months. Dr. Wanyama has not missed a single visit. But this most recent demand comes outside of that schedule and signals a shift in priority of his case, putting him at risk for detention and deportation.
Dr. Wanyama’s case was previously deemed a low priority by ICE, in part because he is a full-time professor at Augsburg University, where he teaches writing and literature, and he has no criminal record. He is a graduate of the University of Nairobi and the University of Minnesota, where he earned his PhD in English. Dr. Wanyama taught in the English department at St. Cloud State University before coming to Augsburg University, where he earned tenured status and currently teaches full time. His students and colleagues know him as a beloved mentor and expert in writing, Postcolonial literature and theory, and African American literature. "Professor Mzenga Wanyama is an invaluable tenured member of the Augsburg University Community. Augsburg's students need Professor Wanyama," said Robert Cowgill, chairman of the English Department at Augsburg University.
Dr. Wanyama lives with his wife and has three sons in Minnesota who volunteer regularly with Feed My Starving Children. One of his sons is a US citizen. "Any action ICE may take to prevent Professor Wanyama from continuing his important work must be seen as a direct assault upon deeply held community values and interests," Cowgill said. Meg Novak, a Minnesota-based advocate for families of immigrants, responded to the meeting by saying, "It is an outrage for ICE to remove our community members from their homes, disrupt their lives and rip apart families." Community members are invited to meet at the St. Paul ICE headquarters located at 1 Federal Dr #1640, St Paul, MN 55111 at 12 PM this Friday, March 9th to show support for Dr. Wanyama and his family."
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