Ousman Darboe has been imprisoned by ICE longer than any other New Yorker currently in detention.1
Like many dreamers, Ousman—a 26-year-old Black Muslim from the Bronx—has lived in the U.S. since he was a child. He has a wife and a 2-year-old daughter who he's only held in his arms twice.
On September 11th, the federal district court unjustly denied Ousman's habeas petition on but ordered a new "constitutionally sound" bond hearing based on previous’ courts failures to consider alternatives to detention. In light of this, Ousman’s new bond hearing been scheduled for this upcoming Monday, September 28th.
Support for Ousman has been overwhelming. But despite receiving a rare gubernatorial pardon from Gov. Andrew Cuomo last February; letters of support from Congress, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer—and even the New York Giants2; and a stay of deportation from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, ICE still refuses to release Ousman.3
And if that weren't enough, COVID-19 is ravaging jails and prisons across the country—including Bergen County Jail—which had the first reported case of COVID-19 in any ICE detention facility nationwide.4 Conditions at Bergen are inhumane: just a few months ago, someone at Bergen found a bloodied partial rat carcass in their dinner. Currently, people incarcerated at the Bergen County Jail are not being provided enough soap, hand sanitizer, or other basic necessities to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And because of the pandemic, Ousman is being subjected to 16-18 hours of solitary confinement per day.
Ousman's case illustrates the compounding effects of anti-Blackness, Islamophobia, and xenophobia in our carceral system.5 Ousman's religious freedoms have been denied over and over again: he hasn't had a prayer scheduled or been allowed to see an Imam in months.
Ousman has also never been able to spend Ramadan or celebrate Eid with his baby daughter—who he has only held in his arms twice in her two years of life. Ousman must be released from ICE custody so he can immediately reunite with his family, who are struggling to survive in his absence as the COVID-19 pandemic devastates Black communities nationwide.
Despite both the court system’s and ICE's efforts to argue that Ousman's release is not in the "public's interest," we know that his community in New York City wants him home. Let’s show the courts that Ousman’s community shows up for him.
1. "Pardoned By Cuomo But Detained By ICE, Bronx Immigrant Marks Three Years In ICE Detention” Gothamist, 31 July 2020
3. "Bronx Man In ICE Custody Fighting For Release After Cuomo Pardons His Robbery Conviction,” Gothamist, 10 Feb 2020
4. '"A Ticking Time Bomb': Advocates Warn COVID-19 Is Spreading Rapidly Behind Bars," NPR, 28 April, 2020
5. "Ousman Darboe could be deported any day. His story is a common one for black immigrants," Vox, 30 Sep, 2019
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