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To: Governor Cuomo and ICE

Reunite Ousman Darboe with his wife, baby daughter, parents, and siblings

UPDATE: Thanks to very concerted community support, Governor Cuomo granted Ousman's pardon! We are now working on trying to get Ousman's immigration case reopened and Ousman out of detention. This pardon will be critical in that effort. Ousman, his family, and his legal team send their heartfelt thanks to all of you! We will be in touch about the next stages of the effort to get Ousman back to his family.

This is an urgent petition to Governor Cuomo to pardon Ousman Darboe, a Bronx resident who is facing deportation and separation from his wife Lashalle, their almost two-year-old daughter Sanai, his parents, and 10 brothers and sisters. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) is tearing this family apart based on a robbery offense – involving two necklaces – that Ousman was arrested for when he was 20 years old, for which he has already served his time. Governor Cuomo has the power to reunite this Bronx family—and give Sanai her father back—by granting Ousman a pardon. #FreeOusman

Why is this important?

Ousman is a long-time resident of the Fordham Heights neighborhood of the Bronx, who came to the United States from the Gambia in 2001 when he was only 6 years old. The fourth of eight children, Ousman spent much of his teenage years caring for his five younger siblings – doing everything from changing diapers to attending parent-teacher meetings – while his parents worked full-time, low-paying jobs.

ICE tore Ousman away from his community when they arrested him in an early morning home raid on July 31, 2017 on the basis of single criminal conviction. Just five days later, Ousman’s partner of three years, Lashalle, learned she was pregnant with their first child. Despite being incarcerated by ICE ever since, Ousman has been supportive and present for his family in anyway he can. This included the hours Lashalle was in labor, when Ousman repeatedly called his wife in the short increments permitted by the jail until the jail cut off phone access for the night just before his daughter was born.

His daughter Sanai is now almost two years old, and Ousman has never been able to see his baby girl outside of a jail. During weekly visits, Sanai’s tiny fists hit the glass barrier when she reaches out for her father, and she starts crying and screaming when she is forced to leave her father. With Ousman in detention and without affordable childcare, Lashalle has struggled for now years to maintain full-time employment. As a result, Lashalle and Sanai lived in a homeless shelter for over a year and only recently were moved to permanent public housing in the Bronx. Lashalle is still struggling to survive every day as ICE has forced her to be a young single mother, despite the deep mutual commitment she shares with her husband. If Ousman returned home, Lashalle and Sanai would be able to thrive and be at peace.

ICE is determined to treat Ousman as a disposable member of our community based on his contact with New York State’s criminal legal system and has deliberately ignored his tremendous efforts to rehabilitate as a loving husband, father, brother, and son. Since his incarceration by ICE, Ousman has worked and completed his GED. Within immigration jail, he has emerged as a leader entrusted with ensuring other incarcerated people receive food and hygiene products, among other responsibilities. He has the full support of his family, community groups, and social workers in transitioning out of immigration jail.

You can also read more about Ousman’s story here:

You can sign onto this petition that has two goals:
1) We urge Governor Cuomo to use his discretionary power as Governor to grant a pardon that would allow Ousman to be reunited with his wife and young child.
2) We also urge ICE to release Ousman and end this deportation case once and for all, allowing the Darboe family a chance to be whole.

We are also raising money to support Lashalle and Sanai as they transition out of the shelter system at:

The Trump administration defends its aggressive immigration policies by claiming that these actions make the public safer. But the public needs Ousman home. Lashalle – who has struggled to find stable housing and childcare that will accommodate her work schedule – would be safer with Ousman home. Their daughter – who reaches out for her father but cannot touch him since the jail instituted a no-contact visitation policy, despite failed promises by the Bergen County Jail to change this policy – would be safer with him home. Ousman’s parents and siblings – who look up to him and rely on him —would be safer with Ousman home. Many New York city, state, and federal elected officials support Mr. Darboe’s pardon application and imminent release from ICE custody, including Congress Members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jose Serrano, Assembly Member Yuh-line Niou, State Senator Julia Salazar, Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

If the Trump administration will not defend the safety of all members of our country, we look to each other. We ask you to join us in this petition that will help provide the safety, stability and happiness that Ousman and his family so desperately need.

How it will be delivered

We will email and hand-deliver the signatures to the Executive Clemency Bureau, New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

Bronx, NY, USA

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL


2020-02-05 20:59:36 -0500

Hi everyone!

We wanted to let you know that Governor Cuomo's office has unconditionally pardoned Ousman! This would not have been possible without your support. Ousman and his wife Lashalle send their heartfelt thanks. You can hear their reactions in the following interview:

We are now working on trying to get Ousman's case reopened and to get him out of detention. The struggle is not over, but this gives us what we need to fight for justice in his case.

We again express our deepest gratitude to you all for your amazing support. THANK YOU.

Amy, Sophia, Alina, & Cynthia

2020-02-04 16:30:43 -0500

500 signatures reached

2020-01-31 08:39:13 -0500

100 signatures reached

2020-01-30 23:18:01 -0500

50 signatures reached

2020-01-30 22:06:22 -0500

25 signatures reached

2020-01-30 21:41:10 -0500

10 signatures reached