Idrissa, Emmanuel and Issoufou were released from the Youngstown prison today around 1:00 pm, after Deb Kline from Cleveland Jobs with Justice and I posted a $15,000 bond for each of the men at the ICE headquarters in Brooklyn Hts.
Jeff Smith and Steve Sedam from Forest Hill Church drove to the Younstown bus station to pick them up. (The prison always releases immigrants at the bus station because they are usually going to another location.). They arrived at the church in Cleveland Hts. around 4:30 p.m.
Church volunteers will serve them a familiar meal this evening and French speakers will be available to help with communication. We have a Moore speaker going to the church on Weds. and continue to look for Moore speakers, the men’s first language. Jeff and Steve played Burkina Faso music for them on Spotify on the trip back to Cleveland. (You can read their stories on the AMIS, Inc. website at www.amisohio.org
Lots of thank you’s are in order as this was a real coalition and group effort. Thanks to the men’s attorneys, Brian Hoffman and Maureen DeVito from Catholic Charities, who had the foresight to bring these men’s cases to the attention of AMIS, Inc., Hts. Friends of Immigrants, and Cleveland Jobs with Justice. Thanks to Forest Hill Church Presbyterian, the church’s co-pastors Veronica Goines and John Lentz, Jeff Smith, and the church’s Immigration Task Force for walking the talk and taking on a very big challenge to host three men from a small village in West African. Thanks to Catholic Charities for providing $20,000 of the $45,000 needed for the 3 bonds. Thanks to Deb Kline and Cleveland Jobs with Justice for providing $7200 for the bonds. Thanks to Church of the Saviour in Cleveland Hts. for a gift of $5000. And, thanks to all of you who donated to AMIS, Inc.and helped us raise over $20,000 for the bonds.
I want to personally thank the AMIS board who without hesitation took on the challenge of raising more than we have ever raised for a single cause - and doing it in 9 days! Board members are Gary Benjamin, Brian Boswell, Kris DuBois, Sue Dean Dyke, Steve Sedam, Jeff Smith, Pam Turos and Anne Hill.
For peace and justice,
Co-Chair, Hts. Friends of Immigrants