Source: Foncham Petition Website
In the early morning of Thursday June 28th, 2007, copious amounts of gas swept through the Silver Spring, Maryland apartment of Mr. Ignatius Foncham, killing all three of his daughters (aged 4 years, 2 years and just 4 months old). The mother of the children survived the fire in critical condition, but unfortunately succumbed to the cold hands of death about two weeks later on July 12th, 2007. Within the span of two weeks, Mr. Foncham’s life was turned upside down. It is impossible to imagine how one can recover from such a catastrophic loss. In light of this, it is even more devastating to consider that the loss of all of Mr. Foncham’s children happened in his absence, as he was then being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
It is a primary responsibility of every father to protect his immediate family, but tragically for Mr. Foncham, he was never afforded that opportunity. We, as family and friends are still unable to comprehend the magnanimity of this unfathomable tragedy that has befallen this young man.
In wee hours of the morning on May 31st, Mr. Foncham, an immigrant from the West African country of Cameroon, was taken into custody by Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) officers on immigration status violation charges. After the unfortunate loss of his children, he has been temporally released (for a period of 90 days) to attend their funerals and address his immediate needs.
As to what will happen to Mr. Foncham thereafter is uncertain. While we mourn the loss of his children and their mother, the fate of this young friend, brother and father, is still up in the air. No one man or family should have to go through something like this alone. In light of his loss, we believe putting Mr. Foncham behind bars again may be tantamount to the loss of his life.
Mr. Foncham's story is unlike anything we may ever come across in our lifetimes. We are hereby writing in plea to our local and national leaders to please do all they can on this man's behalf, to intervene in the current crisis Mr. Foncham faces with ICE. And while it is alleged that Mr. Foncham has an immigration violation, he is not a criminal but someone who has an immigration violation. He is a carpenter by profession and the impact of his work is deeply rooted within our community of Cameroonians here in the Washington DC, Maryland Virginia area. Our community needs him as much as he currently needs our support.
Due to financial and other constraints, his three children, all of them US citizens, are scheduled to be buried in Maryland on July 14th, 2007 while the remains of his wife will be sent back home to Cameroon. Sending Mr. Foncham back to Cameroon would result in a final separation from his dear children.
We are requesting that all our community leaders and elected officials do all they can to intervene with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Mr. Foncham’s behalf, so that:
- He may NOT be deported to Cameroon so he can closer to his kids even in their death
- He may NOT be incarcerated under the same charges again after this unimaginable tragedy
- He may begin a new chapter of his life here in the United States after losing his most priceless possessions
- He may live
We, the undersigned, as not only family, friends, supporters of Mr. Foncham but also as concerned citizens, urge our leaders to act now by doing everything in their power to intervene on Immigration Situation of Mr. Ignatius Foncham.
Click links below for additional details about the Foncham tragedy:
>3 Children Dead in Md. Apartment Fire