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Mauritanian Network For Human Rights in the US

Mamadou Diop Testimonial

Mauritanian Network For Human Rights in the US


 Mauritanian Network for Human Rights in the US. | Published date: 28 Feb, 2021 


As part of the #IWillEatWithYou solidarity campaign, OPAWL(OHIO ASIAN PROGRESSIVE WOMEN LEADERSHIP has been hosting a series of dinner discussion events with Ohio’s progressive AAPI community and friends. Their most recent #IWillEatWithYou event focused on immigration justice and storytelling and MNHRUS president Houleye Thiam along with two other speakers Jenika Gonzales (@jenikagonzales), and Bella Sin (@bellasincle) were their featured speakers, they shared their personal immigration stories and what they would like to see take place within the immigration system. They also discussed recent attacks on the immigration system, as well as how we can all support immigrants, build solidarity, and work toward an immigration system rooted in empathy, love, and justice.  Houleye also talked about the importance of the implementation of a universal representation program, and how by not having a public defender, asylum seekers are being set to fail from the get-go.

Please see the recording here



Under the universal representation project through the Vera Safe grant, we are doing a campaign in Ohio to advocate for funds to be made available in order to provide legal counsel for immigrants in detention or deportation that cannot afford to get a lawyer.


Immigration detention is the only legal procedure in the United States, where someone can be held in detention without the right to a government-appointed lawyer, and because of this many people in deportation proceedings with valid legal cases that will allow them to remain in the United States, get deported because of the lack of legal representation, to correctly argue and win their immigration cases.


Immigration defense counsel is also very important to addressing Anti-Blackness and structural racism in the US immigration system and in the detention to deportation pipeline, because Black immigrants are four times more likely as non-Black immigrants, to face detention or deportation on criminal grounds.

Immigrants in detention that have legal attorneys are 3.5 fives more likely to be released from detention on bond, and 10 times more likely to win their immigration cases, and be released from immigration jails than their counterparts that do not have lawyers and cannot afford to hire one.


We are urging for a national mandate from the US federal government to appoint counsel for immigrants in detention and/or for states to create funds for legal representation for immigrants in detention or detention as it is a human right.


Three states have already created statewide immigration legal defense funds, and we are hoping for Ohio to join them soon because expecting mostly non-English speaking, traumatized, new country asylum seekers to represent themselves, in complex immigration proceedings, is setting them up for failure from the get go.


The US as a country is better than this, treating immigrants with fairness, dignity and justice in detention and beyond is a US value.


Keeping families together, treating immigrants with dignity, respect and fairness are American values.

By The Mauritanian Network for Human Rights in the US. • 28 Feb 2021













On February 10th, 2021, The Mauritanian Network President, Houleye Thiam was featured in a virtual webinar that was organized by the ABA,(American Bar Association) entitled Prison to Deportation Pipeline: Crimmingration &Black Immigrants, along with other panelists, where Houleye spoke to the audience, about the racial disparity issues that make Black Mauritanians leave Mauritania in the first place, as well as the issues they face once in the US, within the US immigration system, including the issue of finding pro bono or low bono lawyers to represent them.

The video is attached here.


On September 30th, 2020, The Mauritanian Network President, Houleye Thiam along with Pastor Ben of The Salvation of Life, Jennie Guilfoye Deputy Director of Programs at the Immigration Justice Campaign(IJC), and Sylvie Bellow of The American Cameroon Council, were panelists in a Zoom conference, where Houleye and her co-panelists discussed the issues faced by Black Immigrants in the US immigration system, and how the system is setting immigrants up to fail from the get-go, by expecting them to find their own lawyers or represent themselves in immigration courts.


On Wednesday, November 11th, Houleye Thiam of MNHRUS, was the guest speaker at Miami University’ Elizabeth Wilson’ class, Houleye spoke to students in Religious studies, Gender Studies, and Journalism. At this Google -Meet conference, Houleye talked about her story of immigration, human rights abuse in Mauritania, and the issues that immigrants face while tackling the US immigration/asylum system including issues involving Universal Representation.

 By The Mauritanian Network for Human Rights in the US. • 28 Feb 2021 

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