On August 14, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a federal lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on behalf of a man who has been imprisoned in the York County Prison despite the U.S. government’s inability to deport him to his native Sierra Leone.
Mamadu Balde immigrated to the United States in 1999 when his home country was torn apart by civil war. His application for asylum was denied, but when ICE attempted to deport him in 2012, Sierra Leonean officials could not confirm his citizenship and refused to issue travel documents for his entry into the country. After nine months in prison, Balde was released. Since then, he has lived and worked in West Virginia with his wife, who is a U.S. citizen.