Concern After Ekpeki Detained By CBP in LA

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki was reportedly detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities at the Los Angeles Airport on February 23. LA author Woody Dismukes has been asking people to signal boost this message:

Jason Sanford noted on Twitter: “Ekpeki has a valid visa and was on his way to a high-profile award ceremony where the Africa Risen anthology was being honored.”

The live NAACP Image Awards show is happening in Los Angeles today, February 25. One of the works up for an award in The Outstanding Work – Literary Fiction category is Africa Risen: A New Era Of Speculative Fiction edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki and Zelda Knight.


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28 thoughts on “Concern After Ekpeki Detained By CBP in LA

  1. Without knowing any of the facts here yet, I always feel that Customs and Border Protection can be terrifying and can easily make life very, very hard for anyone, especially but not limited to visitors to the US.

  2. Emailing one of the senators who helped get that visa. Chris Van Hollen and his staff cared about setting things right when Ekpeki’s initial application was denied.

  3. The responses to Woodie’s tweets are entirely what I expected and why Twitter needs a moderation option.

    My local paper has a number of racists who hate the community of individuals who’ve settled here from the African diaspora. (Side digression Me, I love how much they add to the large communal apartment building where we all live.) So I spent quite some time getting their comments deleted.

  4. I quote-retweeted the tweet to my two Senators and my Representative in Congress (and then blocked the jerk who replied directly to me and muted the other jerks in the replies). I plan to email all three of them next.

  5. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS: 2/26/23 - Amazing Stories

  6. I don’t think there’s anything practical I can do from here in the UK, but I will express my concern, and hope that Mr Ekpeki will soon be released. (Ideally, with some sort of apology, but I suspect that’s not going to happen.)

  7. Jennifer Povey on February 25, 2023 at 5:49 pm said:

    I’m wondering, tbh, if one of the people who has been harassing and threatening him made a false report?

    I think it is probable that a troll reported him

  8. An anonymous user on Twitter describing themselves as a fellow Nigerian warned Ekpeki on Twitter that he was misunderstanding how his U.S. visa works. Here’s what that user DerutoD posted 11 days before Ekpeki flew from Nigeria into Los Angeles:

    He said in an interview that he got a two year visa, so that has not yet expired. He said he was admitted for six months, so he is legally here until beginning of March. After that, he will be in difficulty. He said in the same interview that he believes he can leave after six months then soon return and stay another six months, but as I severally tried to explain before he blocked me, that is not how the system works. On B visa one is generally permitted to stay no more than six months in a 12 month period. So I believe that in March he will face an unpleasant reality when he attempt to return to the United States, as he has stated he intends.

    I have urged him to speak with an immigration attorney, but because the racist trolls are likewise telling him he is to have visa problems, he seems to believe I am a troll as well and so he need not listen to anyone who tells him anything about visas.

    I wish someone would take him in hand and explain these things to him before he gets into trouble. But his ego appears to have overcome his good sense.

    My prediction, he’s going to have 3 transcontinental flights:
    #1 from USA to Nigeria
    #2 from Nigeria to USA
    #3 immediately back to Nigeria when he’s turned away at the airport bcuz as we keep telling him you can’t stay 2 years on a 2 year visa even if you leave every 6 months

    I know the racists who have been stalking him since the amazon thing are telling him this too, so now he thinks everyone who tells him this is telling him out of nastiness

    But he does not understand visas. He really needs to ASK A PROFESSIONAL instead of thinking everyone’s trolling him. Like don’t listen to me, I’m just some guy too, but ask an immigration attorney or something

    I don’t know anything about visas, so I can’t vouch for these statements, but K. Tempest Bradford has shared some of DerutoD’s comments as well.

  9. Everyone I know who lives outside the US and has traveled here on the visa Ekpeki has is telling me the same thing, so I’m confident DerutoD has the right of it. And he’s likely right that he wasn’t listened to because the racist trolls were saying the same, though their motives weren’t to be helpful. It’s sad.

  10. I’ve had friends from Somalia with that visa and yes that’s how it worked.

    They eventually got the upgraded visa that allowed them to be here full-time and eventually became US citizens but they did go back to Somalia for a full six months (they actually stayed for two weeks beyond that to be sure that there’s not a hassle on this end when they returned) before returning,
    .

  11. I think DerutoD commented on File 770 on Oct. 14, 2022, as Michael D, offering the same warning that Ekpeki was wrong about how visas work and he’d be unable to leave after six months and immediately come back.

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  13. Sad that he’s going to miss the NAA P Image Awards, but at least he’s out of the hands of Border Patrol.

    I hope someone he knows and trusts can explain how the visa system works.

  14. Having met Ekpeki at Worldcon Chicon8/Chicago last Sept (and my very 1st visit to the US of A also), I echo Steve Wright’s comments, above. [ Oh and my offer to him re UK Eastercon 2023/Conversation (Fri 7-Mon 10 April inclusive) in covering his membership thereat, still stands: subject to his of course getting a UK visa to attend. (And as previously mentioned I can’t, however, cover his travel or accommodation.) ]

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