African illegal immigrants – life in limbo

Illegal immigrants dying at sea is one of many devastating endings of African illegal immigrants to the green pastures. Some would enter into the country of their dreams where it is impossible to change minds before their misery begins.

Whose job is it to stop this inhumane treatment of immigrants? Whose job is it to tell both sides of the story? Undoubtedly, many do survive through migration ordeal, but for one person that made it, how many hundreds were wasted, at sea, at detention centres?

How about if Africans did its part by never to be part of a family member entering illegally – fewer people to throw hate words at on the street.

The subject of illegal immigrant is a tough subject which we all especially Nigerians try hard to avoid talking about – is just sad.

Sometimes, the type of risks that my people take is incredible nerve-racking because when it didn’t go according to plan, too much is at stake.

I got to know Sade in early 2000, she is kind and hardworking just as many Nigerians in the small American city. She came to the US with her husband and both worked hard for everything they had. She had a decent salaried job at a US Bank and on the side she had an African grocery shop, and on top had another website design project – she worked round the clock and had a very big American-style home. Husband was a university professor – All was well.

The couple is the type of Nigerians one wants to associate with as plenty to emulate from their lives, I would stop by her shop sometimes twice a week mostly just to speak Yoruba and to laugh, I have more recent jokes and she fed me with the old ones.

I once had to visit the Immigration Centre to renew my work permit as you were allowed another year or so after studies to work legally in the country. Waiting about to get my work permit card, I noticed some banging upstairs and incoherent noises, the lady beside me said not to worry, those guys were illegal immigrants waiting for verdicts.

Uhmn, was my response. All in the name of Coming to America.

Rachel was Sade’s niece, the kind of niece who loved their big Auntie who lives in the west and tend to believe every word without much questioning.

Sade said to me that she is bringing her niece over to help with the shop, while she focused on the website design project as evening and weekend hubby. Her husband thought the route she was going to take was a very bad idea and that he would not be any part of it.

Rachel was 17 years old and was promised of going to university in America. She did not question any of the processes she was handed to memorise – Auntie knows best.

At the airport thousands of miles away from her Abeokuta home, just five minutes stepping on to the Land of Opportunity – which America is truly is, only that for Rachel it wasn’t – she was put amongst hundreds of people just like her in an immigration prison.

It was a while before I knew what went wrong. I did once visit a lawyer with Sade – all I heard in the meeting was fee negotiations – obscene amount of money to get Rachel out of immigration prison – A young Christian girl who has never been stopped by police before, who failed miserably to recite lies – that sad.

Rachel would have started a decent business with $10k in Nigeria and would for the rest of her life be grateful to Sade or use the same amount to pay her tuition for a state/federal university for four years – hindsight…

In the end, Rachel was moved from one immigration prison to another – never saw America she dreamt of. She was returned home after two years of gruelling fight.

America and other western countries are Heaven for many Africans – literally. However, it is only worth it if one enters legally, there would still be challenges but it will be all worth it.

In this video 2:29 shows Nigerians in Italy. 23:57 shows the life lived in regrets.