All are invited to join this special event, “Today’s Refugees, Tomorrow’s Deportees: When Forced Migration and White Supremacy Are Public Policy,” Tuesday, November 29, 11am-12:15pm ET.

>> Register by clicking here.

While we support refugees and understand how they are subject to forced migration, “refugee” is simply a label. Once settled in the US that label denotes a temporary status on the way to legal permanent resident and often citizenship. However, missteps and misfortune during that process can result in a new label- “deportee.” Scholarly work on forced migration often leaves out the practice of deportation because of an assumption that the state is acting with just authority. However, when the current US practice of deportation is placed in the broader historical context of colonization, the transatlantic slave trade and the American Colonization Society, as well as Jim Crow and mass incarceration, it tells a very different story. This expanded narrative cannot be explained without considering white supremacy as a “push factor.” In this new context forced migration is also not unidirectional but rather multidirectional and at times cyclical. Our panelists all have experience with deportation from different perspectives. We hope that they will challenge participants to help redefine deportation as being a part of forced migration that is often state sponsored violence, propelled by white supremacy.

Pax Christi USA and Pax Christi New Jersey are co-sponsoring this with Saint Peter’s University, Department of Social Justice; Unsettled: An Engaged Resarch and Advocacy Collaboration; The Center for Undocumented Students; The Center for Genocide and Holocaust Studies; First Friends; the Interfaith Campaign for Just Closure; the Northern NJ Sanctuary Coalition, and the Northern NJ Jewish Voice for Peace.


Rev. Canon Petero Sabune was born in Uganda and fled his birth country in 1970 just prior to the coup by which Idi Amin took power. He entered Rutgers University in 1972 where he joined his brother who was then attending Rutgers Law School. Sabune has shared that his brother disappeared and was presumed killed upon his return to Uganda in 1976 and his sister was killed by one of Amin’s men in 1977. Another brother died in Nairobi, Kenya after a narrow escape from Amin’s men.

He has advocated for both collective change and individual relief for people in ICE detention facing deportation for decades. In the early 1990’s, he joined the annual Ash Wednesday vigil outside the privately run ICE facility known as the Elizabeth Detention Center, which took place for over 25 years. In 2010 he helped organize an annual ten plus mile march from Liberty State Park in Jersey City to Elizabeth which concluded with the Ash Wednesday vigil at the EDC.

In addition to serving as a parish priest in both the Episcopal Diocese of New York and in the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, Sabune formerly served as the protestant chaplain at Sing-Sing prison, as Chair of the Province II Immigration and Prison Ministry Networks, as Liaison for Reentry for the New York Department of Corrections and Community Service, as Africa Partnership Officer for The Episcopal Church and as the UN representative for Pax Christi International.

Robert Vivar presently lives in San Diego Ca, after having his legal permanent residence status restored in 2021. Prior to this he resided in Tijuana after being from the US in 2013 having originally entered the USA at the age of six as an LPR. Since his deportation he has dedicated his life to helping others, specifically deported U.S. military veterans, and deported mothers of U.S. Citizen children, separated families, migrants fleeing violence and persecution. He currently works for Via International, as a Spanish Language coordinator as well as team member of Via Migrant, a community development program to assist Migrants to a path of self-sustainability through its community development program.

He is also director of Unified US Deported Veterans Resource Center, whose mission is to assist deported veterans with VA benefits claims as well as research and advocate for legal remedies to return home to the US. In addition, he is a co-founder of the Leave No One Behind Mural Project, which uses artwork and storytelling to pressure Congress and the Biden administration for just immigration reform including supporting the New Way Forward Act.

Abdulai Daramy was born in Sierra Leone and fled to Germany in 1999, while he was still a teenager, when the Revolutionary United Front attacked the capital city of Freetown. He lived in Germany until he was deported back to Sierra Leone in 2009, leaving behind his son. After meeting deportees struggling in the streets of Freetown, he felt compelled to help. He engaged Amnesty International and with fellow deportees, founded The Network of Ex-Asylum Seekers Sierra Leone (NEAS-SL).

The Network of Ex-Asylum Seekers- Sierra Leone became formally registered with the Sierra Leonean Government as a Civil Society Network in 2011. The initiative was borne out of the discrimination and appalling living standards of deportees in communities living in remote, neglected and poverty ridden communities across the country. The Networks’ origin, work and constitution is the result of the priceless efforts of deportees, graduates, reputable engineers, private business entrepreneur; specialists in management, Information Technology and recognized Civil Society and Human Right Activists living and working in Sierra Leone. The Networks’ establishment is based on the urgent need to swiftly respond to economic, education, welfare and social security needs of Deportees whose plights are not recognized and remain to suffer in communities with little or no attention being paid to their urgent needs.

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