Beaver Dam, WI April 22, 2017: U.S. citizens may think President Donald Trump is trying to find and deport some 11 million “illegal” immigrants who are not only trespassing on American soil, but also committing crimes like murder, drug trafficking, and other serious offenses. Most might agree that our country doesn’t need this type of criminal element. But what happens when legal residents are targeted for deportation? One such resident, Selepri Amachree, is a drug and alcohol interventionist and founder of Xtreme Intervention Project. He has dedicated the last 10 years of his life to helping addicts and alcoholics find freedom from their life-crippling addictions. His passion for helping those who struggle with addiction stems from the fact that Amachree himself once struggled with addiction to cocaine, opiates, and alcohol. He has been drug free for 16 years. But he is now being detained and is facing deportation.
Amachree, born in Liberia (West Africa), has legally resided in the United States for 40 years. At the peak of his addiction in 1998, he plead guilty to a simple drug possession charge. In 2001, he found himself detained by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) to face deportation to Liberia. He was released from detention in August of 2001 and moved on with his life to complete the Illinois Teen Challenge program under State Director John Harper and attended the Pennsylvania Teen Challenge Training Center under then director, John Castellani. He also completed the program’s ministry institute and progressed into field program administration at Youth Challenge in Newport News, VA.
Amachree founded My Light Ministry and the Xtreme Intervention Project in Illinois in April of 2006. His company pays for travel and program fees (via individual sponsors) associated with enrolling the students for whom he does interventions. Hundreds of people across America have been enrolled in programs like Teen Challenge. Amachree is considered a hero to many, including Miss Wisconsin 2015, Rosalie Smith who met him when he led an intervention to help her brother Collin.
A year ago, Amachree’s relationship with the Dodge County DA was strained over an incident between the DA and one of Selepri’s sponsors. In mid-February this year, Amachree received a call from the Sheriff’s office inviting him to meet with the Sheriff to discuss furthering his work in Dodge County. When Amachree passed a background check, a private investigator was hired to pry into his past. The investigator turned up Amachree’s old immigration case that everyone believed to have been vacated.
On February 27, 2017, Amachree who has saved the lives of so many through his interventions, entered a meeting with the Sheriff to talk about furthering his intervention work in Dodge County. However, the meeting was a setup and Amachree was instead handed over to ICE officers who were waiting in another room. Amachree is now detained for deportation under a case precedent that had been ruled “unconstitutional” by the Supreme Court for a possession offense nearly 20 years old. Selepri was detained for almost 2 months before being allowed to see a judge for his bond hearing.
According to Daniel Schreck, the AODA counselor in Indiana, “Amachree has not only directly helped hundreds of people over the last few years, but he has assisted me in assisting addicts in Indiana as well.”
Amachree’s wife and children are devastated by the action. A fundraising campaign, “Got Hope #Freedom” is under way to assist the family with mounting legal bills affiliated with the case.
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A documentary on Amachree’s wrongful incarceration can be found here:
Information on the fundraiser can be found here: