By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER — Serge Babo was deported on Wednesday — forced to leave his family and home and go back to a country has not seen for 11 years.
In the meantime, his family — wife Brittney and sons Jeremiah and Jabari — are left to try to pick up the pieces of their lives at the home they established with Serge in Ridgeley.
Dr. Wayne Spiggle, who has been working feverishly, along with many other friends, co-workers and family members, to stop deportation of the family man and Burlington United Methodist Family Services employee, confirmed in an email late Wednesday that Babo had been deported earlier that day.
In a post on her facebook page on Wednesday, Brittney alluded to the bittersweet news that Serge is now out of prison – but was unable to return home to his family.
“Serge is a free man!” she wrote mid-afternoon. “As much as it breaks my heart that he's not coming home to us, after 11 years he will be reunited with his family in Cameroon. “
Babo, who came to the United States in 1999 to play in a basketball tournament in Chicago, has been in the country ever since. After being taken in by a family in Indianapolis, Ind., he taught himself English and graduated from high school, then went to college.
It was while he was in college that he met and fell in love with Brittney.
Following the advice of an attorney who said he should just ignore a voluntary departure order, Babo married Brittney and they settled down, eventually starting a family and buying their home in Ridgeley.
Although he learned that a letter of deportation had been issued in 2005, he was nevertheless issued a Social Security number and a work permit and has been working as a mentor for the BUMFS.
On May 12, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents came to Babo's home and arrested him, handcuffing him as he washed dishes in his kitchen.
He has been jailed at the York (Pa.) County Prison ever since, while family and friends back home tried every possible avenue they could think of to get his case reopened and bring Babo back home.
Brittney received a letter of notification from ICE last week, however, saying Serge's application had been denied “because there are currently no circumstances present that would reverse or overturn your client's order of removal.”
Both she and family members and friends who have been supporting the family vow to not give up the fight until Serge can return home to her and their boys.
Serge Babo returned to Cameroon on Wednesday
By Liz Beavers