Albanian free after living in church in Detroit for three years to avoid deportation
DETROIT, MI – Ded Rranxburgaj can live freely again after seeking refuge from deportation at a church in Detroit for more than three years.
George Mann, Rranxburgaj’s lawyer, told The Associated Press that the US government has assured them that it will not seek to expel Rranxburgaj from the country.
“I feel better now, like a free man,” Rranxburgaj told MLive Thursday morning by phone. “The church has helped me a lot, especially the pastor. “
Now Rranxburgaj is waiting to receive his driver’s license so that he can leave the church, buy an apartment and find a job.
Rranxburgaj fled to the Central United Methodist Church on January 16, 2018, a day before he met with immigration and customs officials for his deportation. ICE’s policy is not to take coercive measures in places of worship.
Although Rranxburgaj was previously allowed to stay in the United States to care for his wife, Flora, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, he was told in 2017 that his visa would no longer be honored as immigration authorities of the Trump administration ordered his deportation, according to The Associated Press.
Church-resident immigrant case dismissed by federal judge
Three years later, the Biden administration changed course.
ICE spokeswoman Alethea Smock declined to comment specifically on Rranxburgaj’s case, but said the agency was focusing its “limited resources on threats to national security, border security and the public security, ”according to the AP report.
Reverend Jill Hardt Zundel said Rranxburgaj must register with ICE every month through a phone app.
Zundel has set up a GoFundMe page to help the family as they consider moving into an apartment and buying furniture after leaving the shrine, according to their GoFundMe page.
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