"Not black and white," immigrant labeled fugitive by ICE has lawsuit filed on his behalf thrown out

According to a Detroit reverend, Ded Rranxburgaj's case is an example of why America's immigration problem isn't so cut and dry.

"They're a perfect example of (how) this is not a black and white situation," said Rev. Jill Hardt Zundel. "Immigration is so much broader and there are gray areas and this specifically is a gray area."

The metaphorical gray area is one of potential deportation of an Albanian immigrant who was granted humanitarian status for years. The literal gray area is the Central United Methodist Church in downtown Detroit, where Rranxburgaj has lived since the country's immigration policy changed and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement labeled him a fugitive.

Since that status change, the 49-year-old has lived in the church for 20 months.

"It's very hard to stay in here, locked inside for 24 hours. What do you do? Your brain going like crazy," he said. "I worked everyday non-stop. I paid the taxes. Everything by the rules - I go,"

This week, Rranxburgaj and his wife learned the lawsuit that was filed on his behalf was thrown out by a federal judge.

"While we were sad that that didn't go through, they also said there is merit to his case but it wasn't the right appropriate court to take it to," Zundel said. "They were saying 'okay, now we have something else we have to fight for' and they said we've lived here almost two years, why give up now?"

And Rranxburgaj plans to continue fighting. His wife has multiple sclerosis and he has two teen boys, which are reason enough to stay until his options run out.

"I have to be in here with my family. I have to and I want to," Rranxburgaj said. "I'm going to keep fighting until the last one, until there is no other situation. No way I'm going to leave my wife." 

The next step is the court of appeals.