MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities college professor who is fighting deportation received some good news Wednesday.

Professor Mzenga Wanyama teaches English literature at Augsburg University in Minneapolis. For months, he has been at the center of a complicated deportation case as students and political leaders rallied.

Dr. Wanyama says he is taking it one day at a time after facing several deadlines to leave the country.

“It has been a rollercoaster,” Wanyama said. “As a matter of fact, we didn’t know that we’d be here at this time.”

Professor Mzenga Wanyama (credit: CBS)

His fate lies in the hands of the Board of Immigration Appeals. He just learned the board granted him a stay of deportation, meaning until a decision is made, he can remain in the United States. Wanyama says it brings some relief.

“In the sense that it takes ICE off our backs for some time, that’s relief, because ICE now can’t say, ‘You have to leave tomorrow.’ They can’t say that,” he said.

Dr. Wanyama is from Kenya. He came to the U.S. on a visa in 1992 to complete graduate school.

“Well, there are some things that have to do with the visa with which I came to this country that have made that difficult. For example, under normal circumstances, my employer would have filed for me a long time ago and I’d be a citizen by now,” Wanyama said.

He and his wife were planning a move to the African nation of Namibia in October to teach at Augsburg’s campus there. But now he can resume teaching in Minneapolis after receiving the stay.

“His point of view, his world view definitely sets him apart. But also his, just his manner, his sense of calm, his kindness,” said Augsburg student Gabriel Benson. “Not that other professors aren’t kind, but that definitely sets him apart from the others.”

Dr. Wanyama says he does not know how long it will take the Board of Immigration Appeals to make a decision.


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