DETROIT (WJBK) - The case of an Albanian refugee seeking sanctuary with his family in a Detroit church is going before a federal judge. A rally was held outside federal court Tuesday in support of Ded Rranxburgaj.
Dozens of people marched to the courthouse from Central United Methodist Church, where Ded and his wife, Flora, have been living since January when Ded sought sanctuary there after defying a deportation order to stay in the U.S. and care for his sick wife.
Ded gave a quick word of thanks before his family, supporters and attorney went to court.
"I am with my family for 10 months in church, my wife Flora and my sons Lance and Eric," he said. "I want to say thank you for being here with me today and supporting me and my family."
Ded's legal team wants ICE to stop labeling him a fugitive and consider his case.
"We are going to go there and hope they will take off the label fugitive because obviously we all know where Ded is - do we not," Rev. Jill Zundel, Central Methodist Church.
The Rranxburgajs fled war torn Albania 18 years ago, seeking asylum here in the US. Ded worked at restaurants and cared for his wife and children - then was granted a humanitarian stay to care for his ailing wife.
In December he was suddenly ordered deported but refused to leave Flora - who has MS and is entirely reliant on Ded for her care.
"We have a man who is refusing to bend to injustice because he understands that his responsibility to his wife and his family come first," said former candidate for governor, Abdul El Sayed. "I don't know if there is anything more American than that."
An attorney for ICE argued that Detroit federal court does not have jurisdiction in this case. Judge Denice Page Hood said she would have a decision in a week or two.