Today, Harlem Rep Adriano Espaillat released the following statement on the pending release of Baba Sillah, from Gambia who was facing deportation and was pardoned today by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Mr. Sillah was detained by ICE following a January immigration check-in and remained in custody. Today, Rep. Espaillat was called by local union leaders and was joined by members from the New York City Council, clergy, attorneys and allies from the community during a visit to ICE offices located at 26 Federal Plaza in New York to demand Baba’s release so he may return to his family.
“Together, we made a difference and Baba Sillah will be released. I was called today by the leaders of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ and Hotel Trades Council and went to the ICE office in New York to demand Baba’s release. After nearly an hour of being barred from meeting directly with ICE in their office, calls to the agency from members of my staff, and threats of my being arrested, I spoke with William Joyce, the deputy field office director of ICE, and was assured that Baba would be released today by 6:00 p.m. following his pardon by Governor Cuomo earlier today,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat.
“Our immigration system is broken and Baba Sillah and his family are fighting for his life and to keep their family together. As a father of five, Mr. Sillah has worked hard and contributes to his community – our community. Donald Trump and this administration have continuously attacked immigrant communities, torn families apart and created havoc. Baba Sillah’s release will be a tremendous victory, but we must continue our fight for others, who like Baba, are targeted daily because of their immigration or TPS status. We must continue our efforts to keep families together and ensure the protections and due process of all immigrants here in America, once and for all.”