Poetry contest decision due for teen who fled native Zambia

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A federal judge is expected to rule whether a high school student who fled his native Zambia can compete in a government-funded national poetry contest.

Allan Monga, a junior at Deering High School, won Maine's "Poetry Out Loud" contest. The National Endowment for the Arts is not allowing him to compete nationally next week because he hasn't yet been granted legal asylum. He and the Portland school district sued the NEA to let him participate.

A ruling is expected Friday.

NEA lawyers cite a contest rule requiring competitors at state and national finals to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents with a valid tax identification or Social Security number, which are needed to receive prizes.

Monga's lawyers say he faces "immediate and irreparable injury" as a result of the NEA's decision.