In 1998, David Bariu came to the United States from Kenya to further his education at Southern Arkansas University on an F1 Student Visa.
After only two semesters, David found himself at a Dallas area Military Entrance Processing (MEP) station, having been recruited into the US. Army. With an assurance of access to veterans benefits to continue his education and a pathway to naturalized citizenship, David proudly wore the uniform. His career over the next nine years was a testament to his appreciation for the opportunity to better his life by defending the United States at a time of war.
10 years later, after decorated service in both the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, David was unjustly deported to Kenya. Months earlier, it had been revealed that the recruiter who initially set him on a path to military service had been court-martialed for illegally enlisting and misleading international students with false promises of free education and citizenship to meet recruiting numbers.
Despite honorable military service and no criminal record, Dallas ICE officers would go on to raid David's apartment, confiscating his military paperwork and VA medical card in the process. David was detained for a year at an ICE detention center in Texas, his pleas for justice were ignored and efforts to prove his military service so that he could apply for naturalization became futile.
Since his deportation in 2008, David has faced many challenges in Kenya. Unemployment, housing instability and difficulty avoiding the wrath of Muslim radicals targeting those they suspect are affiliated with American forces have made acclimating nearly impossible.
After years of staunch advocacy by Black Deported Veterans of America, Inc., a champion of Black military veterans unjustly deported after service, David now has an opportunity to return to the United States to pursue naturalization for the first time in a decade.
However, U.S. government officials have mandated costly travel arrangements. Additional accommodations such as lodging, food and transportation costs associated with David's return to the United States are non-existent. David must raise nearly $3000 to cover the cost of travel from Kenya to San Diego alone, and additional funds will go toward David's expenses as he undergoes naturalization interviews and appointments for the Department of Veterans Affairs relating to employment, education, and housing benefits.
Black Deported Veterans of America is currently raising funds to ensure all of David's most immediate needs are met for a successful transition home.
All donations are welcome and encouraged. Below is a personal message from David.