Immigration Law Clinic Helps Halt Deportation of Kinimo Ngoran, Capital City Rescue Mission Chef

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Kinimo Ngoran and Lisa Pepper-Ngoran
Kinimo Ngoran and Lisa Pepper-Ngoran outside the Batavia federal detention center on March 5, 2019. (Photo: Sheriff Craig Apple)

On Tuesday, March 5, Kinimo Ngoran—the Capital City Rescue Mission chef who was arrested during a routine U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement check-in—was released from a detention center in Batavia, N.Y., ending a six-week ordeal that nearly resulted in his deportation. The outcome was made possible by the work of his legal team, which includes six students from The Justice Center at Albany Law School's Immigration Law Clinic and director Professor Sarah Rogerson, who led the clinic's response in coordination with co-counsel Sarah Gillman and Gregory Copeland of NSC Community Legal Defense and Nicole Hallett, a professor at the University of Buffalo School of Law.

At the Immigration Law Clinic:

• Joseph Garofalo '20 and Robert McQueen '19 filed Freedom of Information Act requests with multiple agencies requesting documentary evidence on an expedited basis;

• Marissa Gordon '20 and Fabrice Michel '20 prepared a lengthy memo of law in support of an application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the next steps toward a green card;

and Julia White '20 and Jessica Ventura '20 are preparing additional legal arguments for a separate application with USCIS, as well as documentation related to Ngoran's employment at the Mission.

In addition, two students from the University at Buffalo School of Law worked on the Western District of New York habeas brief and arguments. Several community leaders, most notably Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, were instrumental in bringing attention to the case.

Ngoran was issued a temporary stay of removal, halting deportation proceedings until a decision is made on his application to become a lawful permanent resident.

"It's tremendous. It means the most to Kinimo and [his wife] Lisa," Professor Rogerson told the Albany Times Union. "It means the Capital District will do whatever it can to reunite families."

Read more:

How Two Immigration Lawyers Created a Rapid-Response Team to Combat ICE [The Intercept]

Kinimo Ngoran released from ICE detention after six-week saga [Times Union]

Saved from deportation, Albany chef comes home to tears, hugs, calls for action [Times Union]