Columbus, Ohio-based WOSU Public Media reported last year that a local thoroughfare called Refugee Road earned its name from the early United States government’s allocation of Ohio land to stateless Canadian sympathizers of the American Revolutionary War.

Nearly 200 years later, Mauritanians, fleeing enslavement and ethnic cleansing in their native West African country, settled on Refugee Road. Now, much of the community lives under threat of detention and deportation from the same government that once provided refuge.

The Atlantic explores this community’s life in the shadow of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in “Fear and Anxiety at Refugee Road,” a short documentary released today (August 6). 


The documentary follows Ahmed Tidiane, a local Mauritanian community leader, as he assists people who are at risk for deportation. The video notes that ICE largely did not enforce immigration law in this community until the Trump administration empowered agents to aggressively police the area.

The film accompanies The Atlantic’s latest cover story, which also debuted online today. The article uses the stories of ICE’s impact on the community to illuminate the broader narrative of ICE’s growth under President Donald Trump.