Cynthia Huff,, 612.625.6691 (To arrange an interview with Nelson Kargbo)
Jana Kooren, 651.645.4097 x123 or 651.485.5925 c
Jeri Longtin-Kloss,, 612-492-5315

St. Paul, Minn—Nelson Kargbo, a refugee from Sierra Leone was finally released from his prolonged detention this week. Earlier this week, Magistrate Judge Brisbois issued his report and recommendation to release Kargbo. Kargbo had been held for just over two years by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Minnesota. Despite the fact that he was granted protection under the United Nation's Convention against Torture on July 30, 2015, ICE did not release him immediately.

"I'm finally home," stated Nelson Kargbo. "I just want to walk outside with my kids and go play with them at the park. It feels so good to be free."

In August, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota joined a Habeas Petition filed by the Center for New Americans and Dorsey & Whitney, on behalf of Nelson Kargbo challenging his detention. Kargbo was victimized as a child soldier in Sierra Leone before coming to the United States as a refugee. ICE took him into custody in 2013, and moved to deport him based on his convictions for three misdemeanors from seven to nine years earlier. Kargbo served a total of fourteen days in jail for these offenses, but immigration officials have held him in different county jails for two years while he fought and won his immigration case.

In the report and recommendation Magistrate Judge Brisbois sided with the ACLU-MN, Center for New Americans and Dorsey and recommended that Kargbo be released immediately.

"After working on this case for the past year, I am thrilled that the U.S. Magistrate Judge agreed that Mr. Kargbo has been detained for too long and for no good reason," stated Becky Cassler, third-year law student at the University of Minnesota and student attorney for Mr. Kargbo. "Now, Mr. Kargbo can finally return to caring for his four children as he's been desperate to do for the last two years."

"While we are incredibly pleased that Mr. Kargbo can finally rejoin his family, unfortunately cases like his are not an isolated incidence," stated Charles Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU-MN. "The government is spending millions of dollars locking up people whose detentions serve no purpose."

Read Magistrate Brisbois' report and recommendation. 

About University of Minnesota Law School's Center for New American
The University of Minnesota Law School's Center for New Americans is the first clinical program of its kind, designed in formal partnership with several of Minnesota's preeminent law firms—Faegre Baker Daniels, Robins Kaplan, and Dorsey & Whitney—and three leading nonprofit immigration legal service providers—The Advocates for Human Rights, the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, and Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid. Founded with generous support from the Robina Foundation, the Center is home to three integrated immigration clinics and an outreach program that offers law students unparalleled educational opportunities in public service to noncitizens.

About American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the civil liberties of all Minnesotans.

About Dorsey & Whitney
Clients have relied on Dorsey since 1912 as a valued business partner. With locations across the United States and in Canada, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, Dorsey provides an integrated, proactive approach to its clients' legal and business needs. Dorsey represents a number of the world's most successful companies from a wide range of industries, including leaders in the banking, energy, food and agribusiness, health care, mining and natural resources, and public-private project development sectors, as well as major non-profit and government entities.