A Silver Spring youth soccer coach who was potentially facing deportation to his native Togo received a six-month extension in his case from federal immigration authorities.
Agbegnigan Amouzou, also known as “Coach Fofo,” must check in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in October, according to the agency and Amouzou’s attorney, Nicholas Katz of the immigrant rights group CASA.
George Escobar, chief of programs and services for CASA, said his group has been searching for Amouzou’s lost immigration records and has filed a motion to reopen his case based on changing conditions in Togo. ICE responded, Escobar said, by granting the six-month extension.
Amouzou, a former player for Togo’s national soccer team who founded the Elite Soccer Youth Development Academy in Silver Spring, has been in the United States illegally for 20 years. He asked for asylum but was rejected, and he was targeted for deportation proceedings in 2013.
While he was allowed to remain in Maryland after that, checking in regularly with ICE, immigration officials told Amouzou that for his March check-in he needed to bring his passport or paperwork proving he was trying to reopen his immigration case. Advocates say such instructions can portend imminent deportation proceedings.
The move prompted Montgomery County officials to send letters of support for Amouzou to ICE, while community activists held a protest outside ICE’s Baltimore office.