ALBANY, N.Y. (WRGB) – "It's been six weeks of hell for Kinimo, who's been sitting in a prison cell,” said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.
Kinimo Ngoran has been in custody at a federal detention center in Batavia. He was expected to be released Tuesday night.
The 38-year-old came to the United States illegally more than a decade ago, fleeing violence in his native Ivory Coast.
Six weeks ago, Ngoran was arrested during a routine check by ICE, and since then, Sheriff Apple led the fight for his release.
"This is not a criminal, this is not a guy that's hiding from the government, and for this to happen I just thought it was deplorable. This guy's down there every day doing God's work serving 800 meals,” Apple said.
Ngoran had been working for several years as a chef at the Capital City Rescue Mission in Albany, while seeking legal status.
The mission's Executive Director, Perry Jones, says they're ready to have him back.
"His job is there waiting for him! We missed him, he's left a big spot to fill, and now he's coming back!" Jones said.
Jones says he was asked by ICE to watch and mentor Ngoran.
But Jones says they quickly grew close, and he describes Ngoran as a dedicated employee and a beloved friend.
"I'm relieved and thankful. He's always done exactly what I asked, he's always just been stellar, and I'm just thankful for his heart,” said Jones.