Mohamed Soumah, a University of Michigan custodian, is currently seeking refuge in the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting House to avoid deportation — he requires frequent dialysis due to a genetic kidney disease, and says he will die if deported.
Soumah has lived in the U.S. for 15 years after immigrating from Guinea, and has been employed with no past criminal history. He was married to a U.S. citizen with whom he has two children, who are also both citizens. Following their divorce, which invalidated the protection granted by marrying a citizen, Soumah has applied and been approved annually for U.S. work visas.
In an interview with MLive, Soumah said Guinea lacks the necessary equipment and training to provide him with dialysis three times per week.
“If I get deported, I will die,” he told MLive. “My mom died from the same disease seven years ago.”
The condition Soumah has cannot be treated with medication and his only options are a kidney transplant or frequent dialysis, a retired University physician also told MLive.
Soumah came to the United States in 2002, but was declared a fugitive alien by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for staying beyond his term. He was ordered to be deported by a judge but was held on supervision due to ICE’s inability to obtain travel documents.
While attempting to return home to Guinea, he was reported to ICE while attempting to return home to Guinea in 2011, but his deportation was delayed because he was hospitalized. A social worker reached out to the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting House while Soumah was in the hospital. Members of the group later met with him at the hospital and took him in.
ICE has a policy against conducting activities, including deportations, in sensitive locations such as places of worship, such as the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting House.
This is a developing story. Check back at michigandaily.com for more updates.