-Central VT Showing Up for Racial Justice and Sylvia Knight, VT Freedom Bail Fund and PJC member
Hussien Noor Hussien, his wife, children, and extended family are loved members of our Vermont community. Sadly, their family and work lives have been upended and all of them traumatized by Department of Homeland Security’s anti-Muslim racism. Hussien is in danger of being deported unless he can secure asylum status. Central VT SURJ is asking for your support for his legal expenses in this fight for his life.
Hussien Noor Hussien is a Somali Bantu American Muslim man who left Somalia with family members during the civil war in the 1990s after their village was destroyed by militia. He barely escaped to a refugee camp in Kenya in 1991. After over a decade in the camps, he came to the US in 2004 and began to build his life. He learned to speak English, gained citizenship, and worked 2 jobs to support his wife and children. He worked full-time at Walmart and drove a taxi as a second job. He is a gentle, sensitive, shy person who loves his family and has faith in a loving God. It is a miracle that he still has capacity for love and faith after all he has suffered. Those of us who have met him feel honored to know him and his family.
In 2018, he was caught up, through no fault of his own, in a complex legal situation caused in great part by the Trump administration’s racist policies towards immigrants of color, Muslims, and Somalians. The most damaging result was that his citizenship was revoked in 2019. He was incarcerated for 3 months in ICE prison in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Despite Hussien’s good legal representation, four hearings failed to bring his release. ICE was negligent at every turn, failing to notify his lawyer of the first hearing, and failing to provide the legally-mandated translator at the second. At his third hearing, community members provided many letters of support, and his lawyer submitted documents speaking to the extreme risk to his life if he were to be deported. The judge chose not to deport him at that time, and he went back to ICE prison until his release on April 10. For all hearings, Hussien’s family traveled from Vermont to Boston, Massachusetts with their children, spending much of the next day in court, and returning to VT again in hopes of bringing him home. They left empty-handed.
On March 26, Lawyers for Civil Rights and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School (WIRAC) brought a lawsuit against ICE and the prison in Massachusetts where Hussien was incarcerated. The lawsuit demanded emergency release, claiming immigrants in detention were at imminent risk of COVID-19 infection due to life threatening conditions. The lawsuit shared accounts of cruel and inhumane conditions – including guards reporting to work with COVID-19 symptoms, complete lack of COVID-19 testing even after a person who was detained fell severely ill, and a failure to provide sanitizer or disinfectant.
On April 8 a judge ordered release of most of the ICE detainees. Hussien was released on April 10 into a sanctuary in Chittenden County for two weeks quarantine, on house arrest with electronic surveillance. On April 24, he was able to go home to his family, having so far avoided the virus, thankfully.
His next legal battle will be to regain his immigrant status, likely as an asylum seeker, and avoid deportation. Please help Hussien in this chapter of his struggle for freedom!
Some of us have received our “federal stimulus” checks and may be able to donate some of those funds to a “Family Defense Fund” in care of “Standing Up for Racial Justice” based in Montpelier.
Ten stimulus checks will cover $12,000 in legal fees, needed by May 15.
To donate by check, please make it out to “Central VT Showing Up for Racial Justice” with “Hussien” in the memo line and mail to:
14 Loomis St
Montpelier, VT, 05602
Thank you for your compassion!