DETROIT (FOX 2) - It's been more than three years since Ded Rranxburgaj has seen the outside of Central United Methodist Church in downtown Detroit. While the world has gone through multiple COVID-19 lockdowns over the past year, he's been locked down for more than three. But that's finally come to an end
Rranxburgaj, an immigrant who sought asylum in the U.S. after fleeing Albania years ago, took sanctuary in the church in 2018 with his wife, Flora, and sons.
Ded, Flora, and their first son came to America 20 years ago from Albania to seek asylum. It was denied and they appealed, but then Flora was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and became incapacitated. Ded was granted a humanitarian stay to care for her. But once President Donald Trump was elected and his strict immigration policies were put in place, Ded was ordered deported.
But Ded knew he couldn't leave his sick wife so they took sanctuary inside the church. Then the case stalled in the courts.
On Tuesday, Ded reported to the regional immigration field office to finalize an order of supervision. This will allow him to leave the church for the first time since 2018.
This is not a full stay of removal but it does allow him to walk out of the church doors for the first time in years.
Ded told FOX 2 in November that he was hopeful the 2020 Election would help spark change to allow him to leave.
"Now I get the fresh air. Man, after three years and half, I can't believe myself either," Ded said.
His attorney, George Mann, said fighting for Ded is the highlight of her career.
"In 40 years of doing these kinds of cases, it's definitely the highlight of my legal career," Mann said.
Attorneys for Ded's family reached the deal under the new administration to allow the family to leave the church and find a home, while remaining under immigration supervision.