A federal judge ordered ICE officials at a jail in New Jersey on Monday to release Ousman Darboe, a 26-year-old undocumented immigrant from Gambia who has been detained for more than three years, according to his lawyers at The Bronx Defenders.

Darboe, a Black Muslim, was pardoned by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in February but has been forced to fight for his release in court for months.  

"We are proud to stand with the Darboe family and the Bronx Defenders to fight for Ousman's freedom," Alina Das, professor and co-director of the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic, told Blavity in a statement.

"Ousman should never have been detained in the first place. No one should. We are so grateful that he will be reunited with his resilient family and community, and thankful to all of the community members and leaders who raised their voice," Das added.

After a bond hearing on Tuesday, it was announced that Darboe would be released on a $10,000 bond after his lawyers presented a petition containing nearly 7,000 signatures of supporters for his release for a 2014 crime he was accused of committing.

According to Vox, Darboe says he was imprisoned for an unfair robbery charge related to two gold chains that were stolen from a neighbor. Police never found the chains but he was identified in a lineup. He has a two-year-old daughter who he has yet to hold after his girlfriend realized she was pregnant just one week after he was detained by ICE. 

“I basically watched her grow up through the phone, and the glass visits. She calls me Daddy. But it’s like, I’m not there, so it’s like she’s saying it cause we’re telling her to say it, but… does she know?” Darboe told the Gothamist in July in a phone call from the Bergen County Jail in New Jersey.

The 26-year-old will be subjected to electronic monitoring and periodic check-ins with ICE officials while his case proceeds in court.

Since the spread of his case caught national attention, he has received a massive outpouring of support from community members in the Bronx as well as elected officials across New York City, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and members of the New York Giants. 

His lawyer from The Bronx Defenders, Sophia Gurulé, has not held back in her criticism of immigration and federal judges, who she accused of keeping him detained because he was Black and Muslim. 

"[Ousman's release] would not have been possible without the overwhelming community support that has rallied around Ousman and his family, and people collectively standing up against the anti-Blackness and Islamophobia inherent to our immigration system," Gurulé said in a statement to Blavity.

"The fight for Ousman's long-term freedom to stay with his family in the United States is far from over, but for now, he is coming back home where he belongs: in the Bronx with his wife, 2-year-old daughter, parents and siblings," she added.

Previously, she said ICE officials were treating him differently because he was a Black immigrant, and that "for some reason they don’t value the community ties that he has, they don’t value his Black family, his Black wife, his Black baby girl."

Attorneys told the Gothamist that ICE may have held Darboe for longer than any other person in New York City history, and Darboe himself told the news outlet that he was frustrated that Cuomo's pardon didn't help him.

"I thought that [the pardon] sealed the deal for me and I guess it really didn’t mean that much," he said.

Studies by multiple immigration organizations have shown that Black immigrants are punished harsher than others, detained and deported at higher rates than immigrants of other races.

Black immigrants are also more likely to be punished even when they were brought to the United States as small children, and considering many live in over-policed neighborhoods, these immigrants are more likely to be arrested on petty charges and deported. The trend now has a name— the prison-to-deportation pipeline.

This situation was highlighted recently with the case of a young woman from Cameroon who was brought to the United States at the age of 2 and spent years in ICE detention decades later over minor charges, as Blavity previously reported. Members of Congress had to force ICE to pull her off of a deportation plane after it was revealed she was given a partial hysterectomy without her knowledge while in ICE detention.

Darboe's case sparked outrage because he was brought to the United States at the age of 6 and like many Black immigrants, he was unaware of his immigration status. 

Cuomo's senior advisor Rich Azzopardi told the Gothamist that Darboe had "served his sentence and a federal government carrying out a politicized deportation policy is not acting in the interest of justice."

The pardon that removed his only criminal conviction in February was not enough to secure his release. ICE denied his motion with the Board Of Immigration Appeals to reopen his case and he was forced to file multiple appeals.

Other petitions for his release related to COVID-19 were also denied, despite Bergen County Jail being the first confirmed ICE facility with a coronavirus case. 

“[Immigration officials] see a Black man coming from a poor neighborhood who has a criminal history, and they find you as a threat, they find as a danger to the community. It’s hard being Black already in America but being an immigrant on top of that? That’s extra for them,” Darboe said.