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23.12.2004 Diaspora News

Father waits in Ghana for chance to return to U.S.

By The Kalamazoo Gazette/[email protected]

Cheryl Anakwa is tired of jumping through the hoops, tired of the fact that she and her children have lived without her husband for close to a year.

Henry Anakwa was deported to the African nation of Ghana in September. His removal from the United States came more than eight months after his Jan. 7 arrest by U.S. immigration officials, who detained him because of issues surrounding his initial entry into the United States in 1994 and a previous marriage to a U.S. citizen that later dissolved.

Now, Cheryl, who married Henry in 2002, says she is doing everything in her power to bring her husband back.

That task, she said, has been anything but easy.

Beginning in November, she and the couple's two daughters visited Henry in Ghana for two months. During that time, Cheryl and Henry attempted to file for a visa and a waiver that would allow him to re-enter the United States.

But they learned that the visa for Henry's return has to be filed for in the United States, Cheryl said. And when she and the girls -- Keyana, 2, and Amara, 8 -- returned home recently, they did so without Henry.

Even with the help of an immigration attorney, Cheryl said, the five-step process is long and baffling and that she has no idea when it will end.

"It's impossible to find someone to tell you the proper steps to take," Cheryl said. "It's like you can't find anyone to say to you, 'This is how it works.' It's extremely frustrating."

She said family and friends are hopeful that because his family is in the United States, he paid his taxes and held a job at the Kalamazoo Gazette, a waiver for admittance into the United States will be granted.

"As of today, he's still there and we're still here," said Maia Storm, a Kalamazoo immigration attorney who took on Anakwa's case pro bono in April. "We're still just waiting and hoping that the waiver will be granted."

Cheryl said Henry is "doing OK" in Ghana and living with a brother. She speaks to him every three days by phone, she said.

"I think it's just going to be hard for a while and we're just trying to accept that," she said.

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