The last day that I went to Lusaka Central, a Prohibited Immigrant who had translated for me frequently, came up to me and told me that he and 10 other Congolese were being sent back to the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was so happy and thanked me over and over again. Knowing the work I did following up and just generally caring about their cases helped them made the entire time I spend in Zambia worth it. The cases were not practically difficult but the biggest issue was always following up with cases and making sure that immigration knew they were imprisoned.
The big issue we ran into when trying to follow up with cases was the Immigration officer deciding that he didn’t want to deal with us anymore and wouldn’t give us anymore information regarding our clients. We think a big reason for that was the fact that Eve, our boss and the one he normally deals with, was out the whole week. Sky and I took care of the interviews and follow-ups that week without her. A big problem that UP Zambia runs into is officials who want to help at certain times but then other times are unable to for various reasons.
A lot of the time Refugees would get stuck in the prison system. If we did not get their name and information to take to the Commission of Refugees or International Organization for Migration, then the refugee would pointlessly stay in prison for lack of funds to transport. A big issue was the Zambian government only deports people when they have enough people from one country that it is economically feasible to take all the prisoners back to their country.