A gay Nigerian man is in desperate need of asylum, but is instead imprisoned by immigration officers.
29-year-old Udoka Nweke was attacked by an anti-gay mob in his homeland of Nigeria. Fearful for his life, Nweke left and then moved across the Americas until he landed in the US. When Nweke reached San Ysidro, however, he gave himself into immigration officers.
Since then, December 2016, Nweke has been detained at the Adelanto Detention Facility.
Nweke shows signs of paranoid schizophrenia and depression, says Ola Osaze of the Black LGTBQ Migrant Project (BLMP). He and his colleagues have petitioned for Nweke’s release on parole and for him to get the medical attention he desperately needs.
“Seeing him there in the orange jumpsuit,” Osaze told the Los Angeles Blade by phone on May 17, “was a staggering reality for me… All he’s seen of the United States is a jail cell, a detention facility.”
The Adelanto Detention Center is a privately owned establishment with ties to ICE. Detainees report having substandard medical care and conditions are so bad that there are constant hunger strikes and protests.
One asylum seeker stated that the center is so bad that most detainees consider suicide at least once. Unfortunately, Nweke is one of them. After Nweke’s plea for asylum was denied, he attempted suicide.
“Udoka is very unhappy in there,” Osaze said. “He wants to get out. He wants treatment. He needs help. He wants the world to know what’s happening to him. And he’s also like, ‘I’m not going to survive in here.’”
Osaze also shared how off-putting it was to even visit the center.
“It was just such high surveillance and such a terrible atmosphere,” Osaze said. Staff at Adelanto threatened to place Nweke in solitary confinement. “Because of his condition and because of the conditions in there, the threats have included ‘we will put you in this other ward,’ or ‘we will bind you; we will put you in shackles.’”
Osaze and other LBGTQ immigrant advocates are fighting for Nweke’s release. They hope that by getting loud about his situation and getting media coverage involved, ICE will grant his parole.
In order to do that, BLMP is holding a press conference and rally on June 1 at 10 a.m. at ICE Santa Ana office located at 34 Civic Center Plaza in Santa Ana.
h/t: The Los Angeles Blade