Albanian citizens Ded Rranxburgaj has been holed up in a church in Detroit, US since 2018 to avoid deportation.
For over two years, Ded has been living inside the church with his sick wife and children in the hope of avoiding being sent back to Albania. Him, his wife Flora, and his first son came to America over 20 years ago and sought asylum.
It was initially denied but they appealed the decision. Flora was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and could not be deported because of her condition. Her husband was given a humanitarian stay to care for his wife. During this time, he worked as a cook, paid tax, and provided for his family.
When President Trump came to power, he found that he was to be deported. Ded realised he couldn’t and wouldn’t leave his wife so the family took sanctuary in the church. He was labelled as a fugitive by Immigration and Customs, but they were not able to go inside the church to remove him.
In 2019, the matter went to court and Ded sought to have the ‘fugitive’ label removed so the merits of his case could be heard. The judge ruled it was not in her remit but the case will be heard again in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals this week.
Debbie Dingell, Michigan Congresswoman voiced her support for the family;
“They need to let Ded stay here. They need to let him out of this church and go back to trying to take care of his wife and make a living and be with his children. They don’t have any other recourse. The courts need to have a heart and soul.”