A Vancouver family is still reeling after immigration agents arrested the father, who had been living and working in the United States for 17 years, and took him from their home.
Wilitha Jarju’s husband, Gibril Jarju, came to the United States around 2000. He was a police officer in The Gambia, in west Africa, who left to flee political violence there.
Wilitha Jarju awoke around 5:30 a.m. Feb. 23, when her 12-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Jarju, came to rouse her from bed.
Someone was at the door, Elizabeth told her mother.
Wilitha thought Gibril was headed to work from the family’s home in the Fourth Plain Village neighborhood.
Wilitha Jarju fumbled through the dark to find the front door slightly open. By the time she got to the doorway, there were two Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents standing at the threshold, and a few vehicles parked in the alley behind their building.
“When I saw that, I felt, like, a heat wave go over me,” she said, recalling Elizabeth was screaming.
Wilitha Jarju had enough time to get her glasses and hearing aids before going out to see her husband, who was handcuffed inside one of the vehicles.
The ICE agents wouldn’t let the kids see their father, she said. Thankfully, after some pleading, they let her keep his bank card.
Gibril Jarju was deported, and arrived in The Gambia on March 9.
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