LEXINGTON, Ky.—Honor student and Transylvania junior Lino Nakwa is facing deportation to Sudan on an immigration technicality. In 1992, 12-year-old Nakwa and his older brother were kidnapped by the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army, a rebel terrorist group that murdered his father. For a month, Nakwa and his brother were held by the SPLA before making their escape. They were on their own for two years and then spent eight years in a refugee camp in Kenya.
In 2003, Lino and four younger siblings were granted refugee status and immigrated to Louisville. Nakwa worked full-time at UPS to support his younger siblings while attending classes at Jefferson Community College as a full-time student. He graduated with distinction and entered Transylvania last fall as a junior where he works two campus jobs and was named to the dean’s list.
Though his records show that he was kidnapped by the SPLA and held there against his will, the United States government is now denying Nakwa’s request for a green card because it says he received “military-type training” (as a 12-year-old) while being held by the rebel group. Nakwa’s older brother lives in the United Kingdom and also faces possible deportation. Nakwa’s younger siblings all have green cards, because they were never kidnapped by the SPLA. One of his younger brothers is on a soccer scholarship at Xavier University and a sister was a Governor’s Scholar.
Over 120 students, faculty, and staff members have written letters supporting his appeal for permanent residency. An attorney has filed his appeal, and the next step is for all his supporters to call Kentucky’s Congressional delegation this week to urge them to put pressure on the Department of Homeland Security to reverse its decision about Lino Nakwa’s permanent residency status.
For addresses and fax and phone numbers go to Sudanese Refugee Education Fund. This Web site also has links to articles regarding Nakwa and his case from The (Louisville) Courier Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader.
For more information, contact the public relations office at (859) 233-8120.