Ekpeki Reportedly Returned to Nigeria

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, who was detained at LAX by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection while on his way to attend yesterday’s NAACP Image Awards ceremony, is on his way back to Nigeria via Qatar according to a tweet by ML Kejera.

Chris Barkley contacted Mr. Kejera, who declined to name his source, however, this is the information he provided:

https://twitter.com/KejeraL/status/1629961261105463300

In the meantime, numerous sff fans and authors have told their social media followers that they have contacted their U.S. Congressional representatives, Senators, or even President Biden to ask for their intervention.


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28 thoughts on “Ekpeki Reportedly Returned to Nigeria

  1. Thanks for the update. While this sucks big time, I am very pleased he is not being held incommunicado somewhere or otherwise being detained.

  2. If I might hazard a guess, the trolls reported him, combined with the fact that everybody from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and large parts of Asia (and parts of Europe) is inevitably assumed to be a would-be illegal immigrant.

  3. P J Evans on February 26, 2023 at 5:22 pm said:
    How did they get the idea he was trying to immigrate?

    His visa was valid for 2 years, but you can still only spend 6 mos of each year in the US.
    He stayed for 6 mos, left for a week, and then came back.
    It’s called visa carouselling, and it is frowned upon because most people doing it are actually
    immigrating on a visitor visa.
    Lots of other visa holders warned him about this, but he ignored them.

  4. I suppose it could have been just the CBP screwing with him for reasons (or troll reports)… but it’s also possible he just didn’t understand what his visa allowed him to do, as Michael D commented in a previous thread (and apparently warned him on Twitter, but was blocked).

    Section 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(1) is for “You can’t do that on this visa” and the fact they let him withdraw his admission means CBP thinks it was an innocent mistake.

  5. Cora Buhlert says If I might hazard a guess, the trolls reported him, combined with the fact that everybody from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and large parts of Asia (and parts of Europe) is inevitably assumed to be a would-be illegal immigrant.

    Can we all not assume that Customs and Border Patrol is a racist organisation out to get anyone who is not white?

    It is entirely possible that David is right and he just screwed up by mistake.

    I’ve had lots of friends from the African diaspora and from the Middle East who have absolutely no problems dealing with them despite going back and forth to their home countries repeated times using their visas. Not once did CBP give them the slightest problem.

    I just had a friend of mine last year go to hajj. She certainly didn’t tell me that she had any problem getting back into States, nor did her friends were visiting from Saudi Arabia.

  6. @ P J Evans, in the earlier article on File770 about his being detained by CBP (https://file770.com/concern-after-ekpeki-detained-by-cbp-in-la/#comments) a couple people in the comments noted that the type of visa they thought he had does not actually let you spend 2 years in the US, it lets you stay for up to six months in a year and then you are supposed to return to your home country for 6 months before coming back for another six months. If you try to re-enter the US after only a couple weeks, CBP/ICE will assume that you are actually trying to live full time in the US on a tourist visa. Or even if they don’t think you’re trying to immigrate to the US, will send you back on the next available flight for having violated the terms of the visa.

  7. Cora Buhlert on February 26, 2023 at 5:28 pm said:

    If I might hazard a guess, the trolls reported him

    They were definitely tracking his movements and were discussing his lack of social media presence the day before non-trolls were raising concerns about his whereabouts on Twitter. There’s no way of knowing for sure though and if the trolls later claimed they did it then we still wouldn’t know if they were just claiming credit for the sake of it.

  8. Camestros Felapton says And the rules are constructed to make mistakes likely and enforcement arbitrary with little scope of appeal

    Oh I would not as an Australian cast any stones. The Diplomat four years ago had this to say about your country: “Australia is the only country that mandates immigration detention for all “unlawful” arrivals, including those seeking protection as refugees. Australia has had one of the most punitive policies on forced migration in the world, including controls beyond the border.”

  9. ???????????
    If I remember correctly, he just managed to get his visa Last week of August, barely in time to attend last year’s Hugos in Chicago. so his six months would have been up this week?

  10. Cat Eldridge on February 26, 2023 at 6:04 pm said:

    Camestros Felapton says And the rules are constructed to make mistakes likely and enforcement arbitrary with little scope of appeal

    Oh I would not as an Australian cast any stones.

    There’s nothing in what I said that suggested that the US is uniquely bad in this regard. Australian border policies are evil.

  11. @P J Evans, I don’t know. From some things he said in interviews, I think he thought the visa allowed him to stay in the US for essentially 2 years with only short trips back to Nigeria in between 6 months stays.

    He needed to be back in Nigeria for 6 months, rather than a couple weeks before attempting to come back for however long he intended to be in the US this time. Which is why CBP denied him entry. And if I’m understanding the CBP tweet properly, I think they cancelled his visa and he’ll need to reapply to come back to the US. If I understand the clause they cite, they have only dinged him for the technical violation, and not because they thought he was trying to essentially move here using revolving tourist visas, so hopefully that won’t be damaging if/when reapplies.

  12. Camestros Felapton says There’s nothing in what I said that suggested that the US is uniquely bad in this regard. Australian border policies are evil.

    Sorry, my bad. Too many make out that we are uniquely bad in this regard. Almost all countries have bad border policies.

  13. He might not have understood but various people warned him that what he was trying to do was not allowed.

    And as other people have said, other countries are equally bad in refusing people for technical reasons. Don’t go to the UK and say that you are planning on “working” on a Con for example or even “volunteering” at GBBF (Great British Beer Festival).

  14. Can we all not assume that Customs and Border Patrol is a racist organisation out to get anyone who is not white?

    Can we all not assume that the bakery is a shop that sells bread?

  15. Ekpeki has been an outstanding ambassador for Nigerian and African science fiction. Give him a diplomatic visa.

  16. I would think as an artist (a writer) he could get one of those visas for performers since he could be giving a speech at the events that are hosting him such as the Hugos or NAACP awards.

  17. @Linda Robinett
    You would think so, but it has become very difficult to get those visas. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival has been having problems for a number of years getting visas for the performers they want.

  18. Cat Eldridge on February 26, 2023 at 5:41 pm said:

    Can we all not assume that Customs and Border Patrol is a racist organisation out to get anyone who is not white?

    Sam on February 26, 2023 at 10:32 pm said:

    Can we all not assume that the bakery is a shop that sells bread?

    Indeed.

    Border Patrol in the U.S. has pretty much run on racism for its entire existence. It was founded as a racist organization, it has been weaponized as a racist organization, and to assume racism plays no part in its current (mis)treatment of a person of color takes vast amounts of “indestructible and persistent skepticism in the face of direct evidence” (thank you, A. R. Moxon) accumulated up over its near-century of history.

  19. ‘Don’t go to the UK and say that you are planning on “working” on a Con for example or even “volunteering” at GBBF (Great British Beer Festival).’

    This was also a thing when Winnipeg had it’s 94 Worldcon. The reasons are that from a CBP point of view, working means for pay and thus requires qualifying and getting a proper work visa. Which is reasonable.

    Each country has it’s regulations as to what qualifies a visitor to come in, and what they can and cannot do while there.

    I will mention that Canada refused entry to my US citizen wife a bunch of years ago on one occasion, and while I was not happy about it, I could see their point of view about why they did it. We have since adjusted some matters such that this is not likely to be a problem for us again. Oh, and we’re both White, too.

  20. “working” can include volunteering for a job that is normally paid. There are several examples on youtube, for instance, of the UK refusing entry for grandparents coming to take care of their grandkids. Or trading work for room and board.

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  22. As a white person who has had a couple of near misses with CBP I think their malice extends beyond just racism.

    They’re just worse to non-white people or people who they think are different.

    I once missed a connecting flight due to secondary screening AFTER I’d been approved for naturalization. No reason; just because they could.

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