Adelaide Abankwah

Adelaide Abankwah

Ghanaian immigration scammer
Country: Ghana

  1. Biography of Adelaide Abankwah
  2. Arriving in the United States
  3. Detention and Denial of Asylum
  4. Unmasking the Fraud
  5. Support and Legal Proceedings
  6. Conviction and Deportation

Biography of Adelaide Abankwah

Adelaide Abankwah, originally known as Regina Norman Danson, was an immigrant from Ghana who gained notoriety as an immigration fraudster. She claimed to be seeking political asylum in the United States due to the threat of female genital mutilation in her home country.

Adelaide Abankwah

Arriving in the United States

Adelaide Abankwah arrived in the United States in 1997, claiming to be Adelaide Abankwah, a native of Ghana. She alleged that she inherited the position of the leader of her tribe after her mother's death. However, this position required her to remain a virgin. According to Abankwah, she fell in love with a Christian man and lost her virginity to him, which prevented her from returning to her tribe. Fearful of being discovered and subjected to genital mutilation, she sought political asylum on March 29, 1997.

Adelaide Abankwah

Detention and Denial of Asylum

Suspecting that her passport was forged, immigration officials detained Abankwah and initiated deportation proceedings. She spent approximately two years in a detention facility in Queens, New York. Her requests for asylum were twice denied, first by an immigration judge and then by the Board of Immigration Appeals in 1999.

Unmasking the Fraud

Immigration investigators eventually discovered that Adelaide Abankwah was an impostor. Her real name was Regina Norman Danson, and the passport she used belonged to another woman living in Maryland. Danson admitted to using a false identity but insisted that her story was true.

Support and Legal Proceedings

By this time, Danson's case had garnered attention from feminists and human rights activists, including actresses Julia Roberts and Vanessa Redgrave, as well as former First Lady Hillary Clinton. Their lobbying efforts led to the reversal of the previous asylum denial in July 1999. However, the immigration service continued its investigation and concluded that Danson was indeed a fraud.

Conviction and Deportation

On January 14, 2002, Danson was charged with fraud. The leader of her tribe testified that she had no connection to the tribal leadership and that the practice of female genital mutilation was not widespread in their community. On March 23, 2003, Danson was sentenced to 16 months in prison followed by deportation to Ghana. It is unclear whether she was ultimately deported or allowed to remain in the United States as of 2008.