Thursday, April 03, 2008

UW student facing deportation able to return for school.

Following her release from federal custody Tuesday, third-year UW-Madison pharmacy student Tope Awe will be able to return to campus within the next few days.

According to the statement released Tuesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, both Awe and her brother Oluwabenga are required to wear ankle monitoring bracelets and check in with ICE periodically while deportation documents are assembled.

I think the fact that the campus was behind her and that we showed our support may have helped with the decision to release her from Dodge County Jail, so she can come back and finish school while she’s still continuing to fight the legal proceedings,” said Salemawit Zewdie, a close friend of Awe’s.

Our next goal is for Tope to be able to complete her one-year internship following her graduation from pharmacy school this May,” she said.

Zewdie and Awe served as co-chairs for the African Students Association during the 2006-’07 school year. Zewdie was one of the first students who began assembling petitions and organizing events to rally for Awe’s return to campus.

Zewdie attributed the immense amount of support to Awe’s character as a person and also as a student.

“When we initially started, when we first heard her case, we had 20 petitions and overnight it grew to 1,000,” Zewdie said.

There are now over 3,000 documents of support for the Awe family, not only from UW-Madison students, but also from students across the United States who heard about her case.

I spoke to Tope when she got back to Milwaukee [after being released from federal custody], and she’s doing well. She’s high-spirited and hoping for the best outcome,” Zewdie said.

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