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Photo courtesy of "Rahim Kamara"

A Dreamer's Last Hope

After years of hustling in the shadows, an undocumented Sierra Leonean gives it his last shot.

It was a chilly Saturday afternoon and the courthouse was dimly lit. A 24 year old man—tall, dark, and noticeably nervous—waited to be called. Rahim Kamara, not his real name, stood cracking his knuckles until they were sore.

A half circle of sweat peeked out from under his arms each time he reached up to adjust his collar. He looked down at his square-toe business shoes and almost laughed, until he remembered why he was there. Kamara was getting married.

His tension built as Aisha, his bride, entered wearing a white dress, followed by two friends who would stand as witnesses. Any minute now, Kamara thought to himself, ICE would burst into the courtroom to take him away.

Kamara is one of an estimated 400,000 illegal immigrants currently residing in the US. He had left a war-torn Sierra Leone with his grandma at the age of three to find refuge in America. Grandma Fanta raised him until four years ago, at age 71, when she gave up the fight for legalization in the US. She handed responsibility for Kamara over to an aunt along with $400 for his upkeep before she headed back to Sierra Leone. Kamara thought about his grandma all the time.

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