Gay Nigerian Migrant With Severe Mental Health Condition Detained By ICE Since 2016
This is an urgent petition to David Marin, Adelanto ICE Field Director, to release Udoka Nweke on parole so he can access life-saving treatment for his dire mental health condition and suicidality. Udoka, a 29 year old gay man and asylum seeker from Nigeria has been caged in Adelanto Detention facility in California since December of 2016 when he surrendered himself at the San Ysidro port of entry, after a traumatic trek through South and Central America. Following a suicide attempt at Adelanto that led to a two week stay at a mental health facility, Udoka was diagnosed with a severe mental illness.

If Udoka remains at Adelanto, we fear his mental illness and suicidality will worsen. However, if he were released, with the support of the Black LGBTQ+ Migrant Project (BLMP) of the Transgender Law Center and the LGBT Center of Orange County, Udoka will have access to the mental health resources and treatment needed to address his condition. BLMP and the LGBT Center of OC have created a post-release plan to connect him with housing, an active LGBTQ African immigrant community, and culturally competent mental health services in California that can act as a safety net for him, and ensure he has access to the treatment he needs to begin to rebuild his life.

If Udoka were deported back to Nigeria, at best he would face a prison sentence and at worst, death, all because he is a gay man. The law passed by the Nigerian parliament in 2014 punishes anyone perceived to be LGBTQ with a 14 year prison sentence. Not only that, it punishes any service provider who works with this community and goes so far as to punish people found to possess any literature focused on this community. It is one of the most homophobic and harshest laws in the world and it incites “mob justice”, whereby large groups of people attack anyone perceived to be LGBTQ. In parts of Nigeria, being LGBTQ is also punishable by death. Udoka already escaped "mob justice" in Nigeria and he is a survivor of anti-LGBTQ violence.

Udoka deserves the chance to live his life freely, with adequate treatment for his mental health condition, and without the fear of homophobic violence and death, here in the United States. It is for these reasons that Udoka Nweke should be granted parole so he can access the urgent treatment he needs to live.

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