October 3, 2018
By: Hannah Meyer
Mauritania, a country on the west coast of Africa, was the last country on earth to outlaw slavery in the 1980s, and unfortunately the practice is still alive today in many forms. Due to persecution from the ruling Arab class, many black Mauritanians fled to Columbus 30 years ago as refugees, escaping the violence. Today, the Mauritanian population in Columbus is under scrutiny by the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE is claiming that many Mauritanians came to the U.S. with fraudulent papers, and have been targeting the population for deportation back to a country where they would likely encounter enslavement, persecution, and even torture.
The Mauritanians have been a valuable part of the Columbus community for many years, contributing to the economy, culture, and vibrancy of our city. Just this month, a Mauritanian immigrant volunteered with the Global Scholars Diploma program to share his culture and history, contributing to over 100 students’ global education. To learn more about the Mauritanian immigration crisis, read this recent article in the Columbus Dispatch.