Community rallies for 2 African men facing deportation

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Two men facing deportation are hoping the support of a community will convince the government to let them stay in the U.S.

Both immigrants could be put on a plane to Africa at any moment. Protests outside the Rosa Parks Federal Building Thursday as the two Detroiters face deportation.

"A lot of times you forget lack immigrants, a lot of times we either think of the conversation as Black Lives Matter or separating families," said Nabintou Doumbia. "We don't realize there is an entire group of people who actually exist in between those two things."

Nabintou and Assita Doumbia's father, Banny, is one of them. The Ivory Coast native and married father of four is facing deportation after living in metro Detroit for 30 years. He's been in ICE custody in Chippewa County since August.

Doumbia was nearly deported earlier this month. As he was boarding his plane, demonstrators showed up at the United Terminal and protested.

"We were also calling United, because we found out it was a United flight," said Nabintou. "We were calling them at the same time. I was on the phone with someone and she said your dad's reservation has been canceled. At that moment we freaked out."

But now, they say their father could be deported at any moment with little notice. Protesters are also raising awareness about Francis Anwana---a 48-year-old deaf Nigerian who came to America as a teenager to learn sign language. 

"Up until that point could not communicate at all," said attorney Tania Morris Diaz.

Attorney Tania Morris Diaz is fighting for Anwana to be granted asylum.

"Upon returning, he had only an aging mother, because he's deaf, because of his disability " Diaz said. "He basically would not be able to survive in Nigeria."

Immigration and Customs Enforcement says Anwana broke the law by staying in the country when he was no longer a student.  He could have been deported, but they're now allowing him to leave the country voluntarily.

As for Doumbia, ICE says he has several federal felony convictions for theft and bank fraud.

But his daughters say he served time for those offenses more than a decade ago and has been an upstanding resident since.

"My dad owns two businesses in Brightmoor," Nabintou.  "And he is really well known in the community in Brightmoor."