Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Board: Deny U.S. Residency to African

image SAN ANTONIO (AP) — An African immigrant should be denied permanent U.S. residency because evidence shows he knew about the executions of 29 counterrevolutionaries in 1992 and continued to serve in the Sierra Leone government, an immigration appeals board ruled.

Samuel Komba Kambo, a legal immigrant, spent nearly a year in jail while fighting deportation as the government tried to revoke his visa. He was released from custody in October after a U.S. district judge ruled that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was violating his due process rights.

Kambo, 39, was part of a military government that took power in a bloodless coup in Sierra Leone in 1992. He has denied any involvement with the killings, which occurred after his government was in power.

The federal Board of Immigration Appeals said in a decision dated Wednesday that while Kambo may not have "directly participated in or actively assisted in" the 1992 killings, there is enough evidence to establish that he was "aware of these events and remained passive, continuing to serve in a leadership post" in the provisional government.

Kambo, a fuels analyst with a graduate degree from the University of Texas, has been living in Austin for the past 14 years with his wife and four U.S.-born children.

"While (Kambo's) conduct during his residence in the United States may have been commendable, it is not sufficient to offset the egregiousness of the adverse factors he presents," said the board of the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

The board heard the case on appeal from the Department of Homeland Security after an immigration judge granted Kambo's application for permanent residency in June.

The board said the judge was wrong to grant Kambo's application "in the exercise of discretion," which involves balancing factors for and against an applicant.

The case was sent back to the immigration judge, Gary Burkholder, said Simon Azar-Farr, Kambo's attorney. Azar-Farr, who said he received the decision Monday, said he will look at other possible ways for Kambo to get residency.

"Mr. Kambo can feel very proud that he was vindicated by the board of the accusation that he had participated in the extrajudicial killings," Azar-Farr said. "In this regard the government's accusation has failed."

Messages left for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. attorney's office in Texas that is handling the case were not returned Monday.

The Associated Press: Board: Deny U.S. Residency to African