Last Friday morning, March 29, 2019, members of the Montgomery County Democratic Socialists of America joined with local community activists, including District 39 Delegate Gabriel Acevero, in an effort organized by CASA to turn out in solidarity with our neighbor Agbegnigan “Coach Fofo“ Amouzou for his check-in with ICE.
Coach Fofo came to Montgomery County seeking asylum 20 years ago and was denied. Since then, he has become an active and widely-loved member of our community: coaching underprivileged local youth through his soccer academy, volunteering with special needs kids in local schools, and frequently attending county budget meetings to advocate for these issues.
Now, Coach Fofo faces possible deportation from Montgomery County, his home for 2 decades, and permanent separation from his family.
Coach Fofo is just one example of the deportation crisis happening in our communities. All over the county, ICE is tearing people away from the communities and families that they have built and loved, and we are all are worse off for it. Not only are ICE deportations ripping valued members out of our communities, but they are doing so in undeniably racist manner. Black undocumented immigrants are deported at a disproportionately high rate compared to immigrants of other races, and racial profiling by ICE agents is a common practice that goes virtually unchecked. We cannot and should not tolerate this racist violence in Maryland.
Local activists came together to let ICE know that Fofo is a valued member of our community, and we won’t let him be taken quietly. Signs and chants at the protest focused on how Fofo has improved lives, and urged ICE to stop the immoral separation of families. Dozens of people turned out from multiple faith traditions, immigrants rights groups, soccer teams, and many other local groups that have been positively impacted by Coach Fofo. Even the Montgomery County Council wrote a letter to ICE stating “If he is deported it would be a staggering blow to not only his family but hundred of hard-working families whose lives he has impacted in both Montgomery and Prince George’s counties”
Thanks in large part to this community action and solidarity, Coach Fofo was given an additional month until his next check-in. The fight is not over, and unfortunately, it’s expected that he again faces deportation next month.
We must continue to fight the deportation machine together. Please plan to come out to Coach Fofo’s next ICE check in on Monday 4/29/19 at 9:00am in Baltimore. Keep your eye out for details!
Read more from Commonwealth on ICE in Maryland and Montgomery County:
Montgomery County Businesses Complicit in ICE Deportations – July 17, 2018
Have a report of actions in your community and want to share? Contact us!