Muniru has been stuck in detention for over 9 months since signing his own deportation orderI, Muniru, a citizen of Ghana by birth and nationality, was born in Accra in January of 1993. My mum passed away when I was very young. I had been staying with my grandmother since my childhood.
I left my country on July 4, 2014, because my life was endangered because of my political opinion. I was a member of the NDC party while my uncle was a member of the power party, Mpp. He wanted me to join his party and work with him. When I refused that, he started threatening me and burned me with a hot spoon which he heated in a fire. In the end when I lost my patience and could not get anyone to save me from my uncle’s harassment, I decided to get to where I could save my life. For that reason I left my country for Brazil.
I left Brazil for Peru without any documents, but unfortunately, when I came to the first city of Peru near the border of Brazil, I was caught by the police. They kept me in the station one day and then they released me, but they didn’t give me back my cell phone and wallet. I passed to Ecuador and then to Colombia with no problem because I got a paper from immigration.
When I got to Capergana near Panama, there was no transportation from that city to Panama except to pass through the jungle between the two countries by foot.
I thought it was easy because I am a young boy, so I started walking. After a half hour the situation changed.
I was tired from climbing the first mountain and a man who was guiding our group told me he will not wait for anybody; that meant he would leave us if we could not climb or walk fast enough.
It was raining; every place was wet. Anywhere I put my foot could cause me to fall. In addition, there is the most dangerous snake in that jungle. The guide told me if it bites you, you will die within minutes. When we reached the top of the mountain I thought we passed the biggest obstacle of the journey, but that was the easiest one. Now we started coming down from the mountain. Nobody had training for the mountains. It was raining non-stop and the guide told us to walk faster to reach where could sleep before the night came. I fell down many times, left my bag and my clothes. I only took the little food I had.
Now the first day of my journey ended with too much tiredness. There was nowhere to sleep. I was in the jungle. The guide said to us, let everybody get where he can sleep and be careful you have to sleep in one place, anything can happen; there is a tiger which can attack us, dangerous snakes which can bite us. This was frightening, because I thought any noise I heard was a dangerous animal, and the rain was continuous through the night.
The second day was worse than the first, because the first day I had energy. Now, I was very tired. The third day and fourth day were the same. The fifth day was the most dangerous day of my life. I lost all my energy, I had no more food, and was so hungry I did not see very well. There were rivers and they were moving very fast. I was the only person who didn’t know how to swim, so it was very hard for me to pass the rivers. Everyone left me alone in the jungle where there were only dangerous animals. I cried and continued my journey, looking for the smallest area of every river. At the end, I came to the first camp in Panama at midnight while my friends came around one o’clock. I didn’t think I would reach Panama; I thought I would lose my life. Thanks to God I made it there alive.
After that I passed on to Costa Rica easily, then I prepared to go through Nicaragua which didn’t allow immigrants to pass through their country. I passed through another jungle in Nicaragua, hiding myself from the police and also the gangs. I was in that jungle for three days, then I arrived in Honduras, then Guatemala, then Mexico. Finally, I arrived to the US border.
I came to United States of America seeking asylum. I was detained in the Adelanto Detention facility in California. My case was denied by the immigration judge on November 28, 2016, and my appeal was also dismissed by the Board of Immigration Appeals.
I learned in the beginning of 2017 that my grandmum was seriously sick and was asking to see my face.
As a result of that, I signed my deportation on April 19, 2017, expecting that I would go back to my country and see my grandmum, but it did not happen.
My grandmum died in October of 2017. ICE did not deport me or release me. Almost 9 months have passed since I signed my deportation, and still I have heard nothing from ICE.
In conclusion, my life has been something different. I cry day and night. I cannot eat well nowadays and my mind is not stable.
To learn more about immigration detention and to join CIVIC’s movement to close immigrant prisons, visit endisolation.org.