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College student seeks to renew asylum defense

A 21-year-old university student in the Pacific Northwest is sitting in immigration limbo. He was brought into the United States as a baby after his father was gunned down by police in the family's native country. The young man has only known the United States as his home. He had come here with his mother, who was deported when the young man was in high school. Technically, the college student has been under an order for deportation for seven years.

The young man continues to seek to defend against the deportation proceedings by seeking asylum in the United States. In 1991, the young man's father was killed by police, in what human rights advocates assert was politically motivated. The man's father had been critical of the Nigerian government in newspaper accounts before the police came in and shot him.

The issue was put before an immigration judge years ago, but in 2002, the immigration judge ruled that the claim for asylum did not meet immigration standards, Human rights advocates say that the murder brought scrutiny to the police force in Nigeria, a force that had received much scrutiny during that time frame for their alleged involvement in several deaths. Although the young man's father had been killed by police after being critical of the government, the immigration court ruled that the man was killed by police and therefore the murder did not fit the claim for asylum.

The boy and his mother appealed that decision and intended on appearing via a telephone conference for the appeal in 2004. The judge did not allow the telephone appearance and ordered the young man and his mother to be deported for their failure to appear. The young man's mother was recently deported after spending two years in immigration detention.

The young man is now seeking to renew his asylum defense in immigration court. He is on pins and needles as he advances through college in his home state. Recently, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials requested that the young man renew his Nigerian passport.

Filing for asylum is one of many defenses to removal proceedings in immigration court. Individuals facing deportation in Florida should consider speaking with an experienced South Florida immigration lawyer to learn what options may be available under U.S. immigration law.

Source: Associated Press via Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "Dad killed, mom deported, WA student seeks asylum," Manuel Valdes, Feb. 4, 2012

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