Ghanaian marathon runner deported from US

plane-takes-offA Ghanaian marathoner based in Dayton, in the US has been deported to Ghana.

The man 41-year-old Edward Mensah has been living in the US since 1990, on a disputed immigration violation, reports the Dayton Daily News.

Mensah who has been in detention since October 2008, was picked early Thursday January 8, 2008. He had been detained for 84 days at the Butler County Jail.

According to the report, he was taken from his jail, handcuffed, then taken to Columbus and out on a flight to New York and then to another to Ghana. He was reported to have nothing with him, except the clothes he was wearing and $17 in his pocket.

His friends are devastated, as they hoped he would have been given the chance to stay in the US. “I am shocked,” said one of his friends, Dr. Julius Amin, who is the chairperson of the University of Dayton history department. “I visited him on New Year’s, and we even talked about training for the Flying Pig Marathon again this year. He had hope … this is so sad.”

His Attorney, Karen Denise Bradley, reportedly did not know about it till late Monday January 12, 2009. “I don’t know what happened,” she said. “We have a motion pending in a Detroit immigration court to reopen his deportation and (officials) knew that,” she said.

Mensah was found orphaned on the streets of Ethiopia as a 5-year-old. He was sent to Ghana where he said he was a child laborer. He came to the U.S. in his early 20s, briefly married and began citizenship proceedings.

Believing he had an open-ended visa, Mensah lived a public, law-abiding life — working, paying taxes, volunteering — in Dayton. He joined a local running club, and competed in many area races. In September he came 18th among the 1,798 finishers of the U.S. Air Force Marathon.

Members of his running club are raising money to help him get back to the US, and if that fails, they hope to send it to him in Ghana, so he could start life afresh.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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