Successful Deportation Block for Nigerian Immigrant
A 2010 appeals court triumph for immigration attorney Christopher Stender resulted in a Nigerian immigrant avoiding deportation, imprisonment, and torture. Following a drug-related conviction in 2002 in Arizona, Nigerian immigrant Lawrence Eneh received a three-year prison sentence and a deportation order. Eneh had entered the United States several years earlier and had worked in a Minnesota health center in the mid-1990s, where he contracted the HIV virus after exposure to a contaminated syringe. In 2000, just two years before the conviction, Eneh obtained legal U.S. residency.
Represented by attorney Christopher Stender in San Francisco’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Eneh presented evidence that upon his return to Nigeria following his release from a U.S. prison, he would suffer immediate detainment, imprisonment, and denial of access to the medications needed to sustain his life. This evidence included reports showing Nigerian government officials detain those convicted of drug crimes in another country immediately upon re-entry. The imprisonment and withdrawal of medications qualifies as a form of torture in the eyes of the appeals court. Because federal law in the United States forbids deportation in cases where it will result in a deportee’s torture, the appeals court blocked the deportation order.