Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Congressman Chris Pappas, Senator Maggie Hassan

Americans for Immigrant Justice

We're asking New Hampshire's Congressional Delegation to insist that ICE lawyers back down on efforts to deport Antony, our friend and community member. For 16 months now, Antony has found refuge among us on the Seacoast, supported by a Community Church of Durham host family and a diverse circle of religious leaders, neighbors and advocates. He fears, legitimately, that his deportation to Cameroon would be devastating, dangerous and even deadly. ICE lawyers are defending the court's decision to deport Antony; and we want our Delegation to insist they back off. This good man is worthy of our love, our support and a life of freedom and dignity in New Hampshire.

Petition by
David Grishaw-Jones
Santa Cruz, California

To: Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Congressman Chris Pappas, Senator Maggie Hassan
From: [Your Name]

Eighty years ago, U.S. Attorney General Robert H. Jackson said to fellow prosecutors: "Your positions are of such independence and importance that while you are being diligent, strict and vigorous in law enforcement, you can also afford to be just. Although the government technically loses its case, it has really won if justice has been done." In this spirit, we urge our NH Congressional Delegation to insist that ICE to reverse course to advocate for Antony, whose deportation case is presently before the 5th Circult Court. Justice will be done when (and only when) Antony is granted asylum, and a life of safety and opportunity among us in New Hampshire.

Antony is a Cameroonian who fled political violence and repression in his country, seeking safety and protection at the US-Mexican border in 2019. After a series of transfers, he was moved to the Strafford County Jail (and the ICE Detention Unit there) just before the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. Sadly, his wife and three children remain in Cameroon, threatened often in Antony's absence and at serious risk themselves. In response to an ACLU law suit, a federal judge ordered that Antony be “released” to the care of the Community Church of Durham in May of 2020. He’s still under "house arrest," and wears a surveillance bracelet around his ankle; but he’s safely and lovingly cared for in a church family home.

As he has a standing order for deportation, Antony is working with a team of lawyers who have filed an appeal of that order in the 5th Circuit in Louisiana. It’s our understanding that this appeal is being litigated even this summer, but that there’s really no time frame we can count on. It’s our hope that, should the appeal be granted, Antony’s asylum case would be re-opened and he would stand a good chance (which he has earned!) of finding sanctuary and starting a new life with his family in New Hampshire. We know that he would be an exemplary citizen here: intelligent, articulate, insightful and compassionate. It’s been made clear, however, that the 5th Circuit is tough on immigrants and refugees like Antony—so our hope is well-tempered by that reality.

What we ask of our Congressional Delegation:

We call on our Delegation to communicate with ICE directly, advocating for Antony and his appeal. It’s our understanding that ICE’s legal team is actively involved in fighting his appeal in the 5th Circuit. We call on our Delegation to insist that the ICE team back off, or even submit a brief supporting Antony and his hope for a re-opening of his case. We're well-aware that the Biden Administration has articulated a new policy giving ICE lawyers “prosecutorial powers” in cases like his. We call on our Delegation to insist those same lawyers use their standing in the 5th Circuit to support Antony’s well-documented appeal, and then give this good man (a refugee fleeing persecution, to be sure) a reasonable shot at proving he belongs here.

As we see it, this is a situation of extreme “family separation.” At great risk to himself, Antony’s seeking safety not only for himself, but for his family in Cameroon. Because of our immigration policy (which lands particularly hard on Africans), Antony has been separated from his wife and children for nearly three years. We can do better. We must do better.

Finally, we note here that Antony is surrounded in spirit by a community of hundreds here in New Hampshire: peoples of all faiths and all backgrounds, good citizens committed to sound immigration policy and fair treatment for all peoples. This community begins with our Community Church of Durham, which has taken the lead. But it now extends to sister churches in Concord, Greenland, Portsmouth, Dover and beyond. And it includes young UNH activists and Quaker advocates and immigrant friends from a wide range of backgrounds and places.

We’re all in this together.

We urge you to speak up. And to insist on Antony's right to asylum among us.