The wife of Bakaw Sumareh, a Gambian father of five detained by the U.S Immigration, is pleading with the Gambia government to get her husband release amid the coronavirus. 

Alexis Sumareh and her five children wants Bakaw release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement after 6 months in detention.

“My husband Bakaw Sumareh is a Gambian citizen who is currently being detained by ICE in Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia,”Mrs Sumareh told Gambiana on Friday. 

“He has been locked up since December 2019. The U.S. is trying to get him deported back to Gambia. Bakaw Sumareh has been in United States over 20 years. We have been married for 12 and have 5 children together ages 2-11. 

“My husband is a great person, he has no criminal record that should cause him to get deported. He overstayed his visa. We have filed two different applications to adjust his status and they both are pending.”

She added: “ICE has refused to release him on a Order of Supervision. They prefer to keep him detained and away from his family.”

Bakaw was taken into ICE custody after checking in with immigration officials in December 2019 in an attempt to regularise his status in the United States.

He has not been able to see his family and his children say they missed him. 

Alexis Sumareh, an American citizen, said she was concerned about Bakaw’s health as the detention facility has confirmed Covid-19 coronavirus cases and the disease can spread quickly among detainees.

“The facility where he’s located has 7 confirmed cases of Covid-19. I have asked ICE to release him, but they refuse. 

“They rather keep him captive with hundreds of other inmates than to release him. 

“ICE cares nothing about any immigrants. I’m asking The Gambia to please help us free him.”

The US has by far the largest number of coronavirus cases, with more than one million confirmed infections, according to figures collated by John Hopkins University. The US also has the world’s highest death toll, with the number of fatalities exceeding 60,000.

America’s jails and prisons have become epicentres in the coronavirus pandemic. 

The minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Dr Mamadou Tangara, on May 2 told the National Assembly that the Gambia government was engaging their US counterparts for all Gambians in custody to be temporarily freed amid the coronavirus crisis. 

Reporting by Momodou Musa Touray

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