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Family, Friends Fear For Gay Man’s Safety If Deported To Senegal

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Supporters of a Western African man rallied in Detroit — calling on immigration officials to stop his deportation. They say he will likely face arrest or violence due to his sexual orientation.

The demonstration was held in front of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Detroit Monday to support a Michael Mendy, who is gay, from deportation.

Elder Leslie Matthews says, Mendy a stilt dancer, could be killed if he’s deported to Senegal, where it’s illegal to be gay, and are calling on immigration officials to not deport him back to Senegal.

Matthews is asking people to call their senators, congressmen, and Immigration on Mendy’s behalf.

“As … an adopted mom … your heart gets attached and that … is my biggest fear,” said Matthews. “If he could go home and be fine, then okay, but we know differently now.”

“This man was actually shot, (a) home invasion, and nobody has found who shot him,” she said. “But the police were more interested in getting him into the hands of immigration.”

His friend, Lana Mini, says she also fears for his safety.

“Our biggest concern is that this isn’t a deportation – this is a death sentence,” said Mini. “Because in Senegal it is illegal to ingage in homosexuality activity, it’s illegal to be gay and that’s our biggest concern is that he will not survive,” she said.

Mini says it could also be difficult for Mendy’s family in Senegal. Mendy has been in detention for a few months and could be deported this week. She says he was turned over to immigration by police when he was shot in Detroit in 2010.

Mendy has been in the country since 1998.

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