The illegal immigration status of Khoudiedia Nianghane caught up with her this past weekend. Originally detained by ICE during the summer of 2015 under Obama administration guidelines, she was sent from the country Saturday night without a full explanation.
The three children she left behind are trying to raise money through a GoFundMe page for a trip to see her this summer.
The daughter is a college student in Blue Ash, the sons are in school on the west side and the father works in the area.
Bakary Djuma, who turned 13 just a few days ago, established the fundraising page, hoping enough money could be raised to pay for travel to Senegal and back during the break from school in the months ahead.
His 20-year-old sister was bearing up well as she related her mother’s story of detention and deportation.
“Oh, she was very strong, she didn’t show us any emotions,” recalled Mariam Traore.
She kept her composure until we asked how her younger siblings were handling the situation.
Sitting on a sofa in the family’s Price Hill home, she buried her head in her hands at that point and wept.
Bakary told us he and his 17-year-old brother Mustafa, a student at Western Hills High School, try to not dwell on the deportation of their mother.
“They’re doing really good in school,” said Traore. “They are ‘A’ students.”
Bakary, a seventh-grader at Dater, spoke with us in the pouring rain about his phone conversation with his mother on Monday.
“She’s doing fine,” he said. “We talked about our plans of going to visit her…asking everybody to forgive her and pray for her.”
Khoudiedia doesn’t speak English, cannot read or write and when she missed a court date regarding her immigration papers, ICE was legally able to detain and deport her.
Immigration attorney Douglas Wiegle said he was told with no elaboration by a lawyer for ICE that she was considered a priority.
“I’ve done this for 40 years”, said Wiegle. “This one really puzzled me.”
Wiegle tried to get her case reopened, but that effort failed. He found nothing in her background or profile to justify a detention pickup out of the blue.
Usually, he said, a new criminal conviction would trigger it. In her case, there is no known criminal instance.
Through some sort of mix-up or misunderstanding in court two years ago, the missed court date left her vulnerable to detention.
“Legally, ICE was in a solid position,” Wiegle told us.
The daughter showed us numerous pictures today, clinging to photo album memories of family togetherness suddenly snatched from them.
“We’re just here to get a better life, to work and have money and try to build a life for ourselves,” she stated. “We’re not here to harm nobody.”
Asked what he thinks about the immigration system right now, Bakary calmly replied “I think it can be improved in many ways.”
“My father is having financial issues,” he wrote on the page. “We need about $5,000 to go and come back with my two other siblings.”
Traore wants to try to bring her mother back into the country once she turns 21.
At that point, she could file a petition that would start a process of paperwork through the national visa center. The process is time-consuming with an added layer of complexity.
Because of the deportation, a valid birth certificate and an interview won’t be nearly enough.
She would need a deportation waiver to be considered for a return to the country, a process that could easily take a year, according to Wiegle.
We requested comment from ICE about the case today, but have not received a response.
Wiegle said he had no idea why she was detained so long, from August 11, 2015 to this past Saturday, before being deported.