Two Kenyan immigrants who were detained by U.S. immigration officials in Utah, Salt Lake City have agreed to exit the country.
Ahmed Khamis Bwika and Emma Ondeko Bwika, who entered the country in February 2006 on a temporary visitor visa, have agreed to leave but decided to keep the door open for their return in the US after no less than 10 years.
The two, however, remained at the Cache County jail on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention hold, Cache County officials said.
“By willing agreeing to leave the US, Ondeko and Khamis will face less strict reentry rules than if they were forcibly removed from the U.S.,” said Aden Batar, director of immigration and refugee settlement for Catholic Community Services in Salt Lake City.
But they have to wait for 10 years to try again.
According to Muslim community leader Noor Ul-Hasan, the couple had applied for asylum and their deportation has angered the Muslim community since they had been affiliated with the mosque for 11 years.
“A federal immigration judge denied their request for immigration benefits and granted them voluntary departure. They have overstayed their original visas by more than 10 years and have exhausted all their legal appeals,” read a statement ICE.
Imam Yusuf Abdi said that he couple’s 23-year-old son, Ahmed, was also scheduled to be deported in coming weeks.
This comes after Donald Trump’s government promised to tightening immigration policies. Many Africans, especially from West Africa, entering the US have complained of extreme checks and questioning when entering the country.