For Immediate Release: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) condemns Cary church member to death by deportation
WHAT: Press Conference to expose the story of Gilles Bikindou’s unjust treatment by ICE
WHEN: 1pm, Thursday January 11, 2018
WHERE: Greenwood Forest Baptist Church, 110 SE Maynard RD, Cary NC 27511
WHO: The church family and supporters of Gilles Bikindou
CARY- Despite his dedication to following the law, committed and productive time as a member of our community, and the life-threatening nature of his medical condition, Gilles Bikindou will be deported. He is a member of Greenwood Forest Baptist Church in Cary, North Carolina.
Since fleeing the Republic of Congo in 2004 for fear of political persecution, Mr. Bikindou has worked and lived in the United States legally for over ten years. He has also been a committed member of our church since March 5, 2006.
Mr. Bikindou was trapped by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while complying with orders for a check-in. When we were finally able to speak again to Mr. Bikindou on January 10, he had not been informed that his stay of removal had been denied and we had to deliver the news to him. He is en route to a Georgia detention center, according to ICE. We are concerned that his stay of removal application was not adequately considered. We are concerned, above all, that without adequate medical care, Mr. Bikindou will die either before or after his removal.
These concerns are heightened by recent reporting on the Stewart Detention Facility, where we expect Mr. Bikindou is heading next. In a report released on December 11, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General was quoted as saying, “We identified problems that undermine the protection of detainees' rights, their humane treatment, and the provision of a safe and healthy environment." Unannounced inspections of five ICE detention facilities including Stewart revealed long waits for medical care, possible misuse of solitary confinement and inappropriate treatment of detainees.
Senior Pastor Lauren Efird lamented that “We take the human-made rules of our land more seriously than the gospel command to love our neighbor. Jesus calls us to preserve our neighbor’s life as if it were our own.” ICE’s actions remain entirely inconsistent with this gospel command and Rev. Efird urges them to reverse course. Mr. Bikindou’s church family and supporters request that ICE stay his deportation until the government creates a way for him to obtain legal status.
Unless ICE changes course, Gilles Bikindou will likely die.