Monday, October 25, 2010

Ugandan survives US deportation

A Ugandan woman who claimed her life was in danger in her home country won a reprieve from immigration officials last week and will stay in Cincinnati in the US.

Cissy Lyagoba, who fled Uganda in 1994, faced deportation. But local Catholic groups, including the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, took up her cause earlier this year and launched a letter-writing campaign on her behalf.

Lyagoba’s case began in 1994 when she went to the US and applied for asylum, claiming her first husband was abducted and killed in Uganda because of his political activities. She later married a fellow Ugandan refugee and started a family.

Her new husband, Grace Mbeine, was granted asylum, but Lyagoba’s request was denied.

Her appeal was filed late and several courts rejected her attempts to reopen the case.

Lyagoba, who has two daughters, came to the attention of local Catholic activists after she was jailed for six months while awaiting deportation.

US congressman Steve Driehaus also lobbied immigration officials on her behalf.

They argued that Lyagoba had done nothing wrong and that her asylum appeal was lost only because a previous lawyer missed a filing deadline.

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