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Highlands Ranch teacher heading back to Africa after visa expires

Efforts to keep Anthony Wanjiru in Colorado failed
Posted at 10:15 PM, Mar 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 10:48:34-05

DENVER — A popular teacher that came to Colorado from Kenya to seek a better life recently learned his visa had expired, and he would have to return to his country.

All efforts to keep him in the U.S. has failed, and Anthony Wanjiru will leave the U.S.. and return to Kenya Thursday.

"I'm broken. My heart is broken," Wanjiru said.

Wanjiru has been in the U.S. for eight years on scholarship after escaping the infamous slums of Nairobi, Kenya.

"You'd wake up in the morning and the first thing you'd see was a dead body,” he said.

He recently learned his HB-1 visa had been denied.

At his Englewood apartment, he's packing up medicine for his mother in Kenya and precious shoes for children in his village.

While in America, Wanjiru earned his masters, volunteered with youth groups and the Rescue Mission, and had been a favorite IT instructor at Valor High School.

"I was ready to give my all as a way to prove how much I love this country because this country has given so much to me," he said.

His students and Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennett had made an effort to keep Wanjiru in the country, but this week they gave him the bad news that given the current political climate, they couldn't help.

"Unfortunately, they got back to me and said the immigration office had refused to review the case," said Wanjiru. "They didn't explain why."

Tuesday, the governor's office gave him the same answer. Wanjiru will now enter a lottery in Kenya to come back to the United States — a year-long process with no guarantees.

As he prepares to say goodbye to his friends and adopted country, he says no matter what happens he'll always remember the friends he's made in Colorado.

"The support I've received. The love has really shown me that people care, and that keeps the hope alive," he said.