ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A former child-soldier from Sierra Leone has been released after more than two years of immigration detention in Minnesota, his lawyers said Friday.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Leo Brisbois this week ruled Nelson Kargbo should go free, noting the U.S. Supreme Court has previously held that the government can't indefinitely detain immigrants whom it has trouble deporting.
"I'm finally home," Kargbo said in a statement released by his attorneys. "I just want to walk outside with my kids and go play with them at the park. It feels so good to be free."
Immigration authorities detained Kargbo after he was arrested for misdemeanor domestic assault in 2013 and moved to deport him for several convictions on his record from between 2004 and 2009.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, the Center for New Americans at the University of Minnesota Law School and the Dorsey & Whitney law firm challenged Kargbo's detention, saying he was victimized as a child soldier before coming to the U.S. as a refugee in 2000.
An immigration judge ruled earlier this year that Kargbo couldn't be returned to Sierra Leone because of the U.N. Convention Against Torture and that it was unlikely that the government could find a third country willing to take him.