Albanian Immigrant in Sanctuary Continues to Await Fate Post-Hearing

An Albanian immigrant who is the primary caretaker for his ill wife has taken yet another step in the process of hoping to gain back his freedom after his lawyer’s court battle earlier this week.

George Mann, an attorney specializing in immigration issues, is hoping he made a proper case for granting his client, Ded Rranxburgaj, a stay of removal – something he achieved under former President Barack Obama but not Donald Trump – in order to care for his family, and specifically, his wife, Flora, who has multiple sclerosis.

But when he was slated to meet with officials from the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Ded Rranxburgaj chose instead to take sanctuary at the Central United Methodist Church in Detroit so he could continue to care for his wife as much as possible and not be deported. Skipping that meeting meant ICE labeled Ded Rranxburgaj a “fugitive” – something Mann, his lawyer, disputes, citing attributes such as a lack of criminal record and consistent compliance with ICE requirements otherwise.

A rally took place earlier this week on Ded Rranxburgaj’s behalf prior to a hearing revisiting his case, which is before Chief U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood.

“It went as well as I could expect,” Mann told the Great Lakes Beacon. “Judge Hood will issue a written decision in the coming weeks.”

Now that a decision is pending, Mann hopes they will have the opportunity to reopen communications with ICE officials involved the case, the best result being to get them to reconsider their decision on fugitive status and subsequent deportation.

“The support from the community was very important, and the press and media too,” Mann said. “Ded knows there is a large community of supporters dedicated to the task of freeing him from confinement. He is very grateful for all that, and his appreciation for all the efforts many people are making for him and his family makes it easy for me to continue to fight for him.”

Mann expects an appeal regardless of the outcome, it’s just a matter of who will request that appeal after Judge Hood provides her decision. It is also within her power to compel ICE to stop dragging its feet on Ded Rranxburgaj’s case and issue a decision.

“The best outcome would be if the fight ends right here, (and) ICE reconsiders and grants Ded an extension of stay,” Mann said.

However, the federal government is showing no sign of letting up on Rranxburgaj’s case. The Detroit Free Press, for instance, reported Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Newby as having said in court that Rranxburgaj is “a fugitive” and “the court lacks jurisdiction to decide this case.”

And even if it did have jurisdiction, the Free Press reported, the decision to remove him to Albania remains valid, Newby said.

Danielle Emerson

Danielle Emerson