The Augsburg University professor facing deportation has been given 90 days to leave the country.
More than 100 supporters rallied outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices at Fort Snelling on Thursday, calling on ICE to drop its attempts to deport Dr. Mzenga Wanyama.
But their pleas fell on deaf ears, with Wanyama and his wife Mary told to return to ICE in a month's time, presenting plane tickets showing they intend to return to their native Kenya within the next 90 days.
A website, Mzenga.com, has been created to track the tenured English and African history professor's fight to stay in the country he first entered on a Visa in 1992.
He applied for asylum when it expired in 2005, saying he faced potential death in his home country because of articles critical of the ruling class in Kenya he'd written while in the U.S., but his application has been rejected on more than one occasion.
Among those supporting his efforts to stay is his employer, Augsburg University, which is paying for a lawyer to represent Mzenga in his efforts.
In a statement on Thursday, Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow said he was "disappointed and sad" that ICE hasn't withdrawn its efforts to deport Wanyama and his wife.
But the 90 days is giving the U the chance to apply for a J-1 Visa waiver on his behalf and pursue other avenues to keep him in the country, he adds.
"We are hopeful that Augsburg's current and future students – and we, his colleagues – will be able to continue to benefit from Dr. Wanyama's unique scholarship, and we are deeply grateful to the thousands of people who have voiced their support for Dr. Wanyama."
Two of the Wanyamas' children are in the U.S. under the protection of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) act, but could also face deportation if a permanent fix for the so-called "Dreamers" is not agreed upon by Congress.
Their youngest child was born in Minnesota.
The next demonstration for Wanyama is scheduled outside the ICE on Thursday, May 10.