Archive for Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Mystery grows around pending deportation of longtime Lawrence resident; online protest petition tops 27,000 signatures

David Carttar, left, his daughter Gabriela Carttar and Claudia Oleo write letters Saturday at the Plymouth Congregational Church to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement asking it stay the deportations of Lawrence residents Raju Ahmed and Syed Jamal. Susan Baker-Anderson, director of children's education at Plymouth, said she and Dani Lotton-Barker, organized the event in support of their friend Jamal. About 250 wrote letters at the church, she said. A similar hourlong letter-writing campaign followed at the Lawrence Islamic Center with the conclusion of the Plymouth event.

David Carttar, left, his daughter Gabriela Carttar and Claudia Oleo write letters Saturday at the Plymouth Congregational Church to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement asking it stay the deportations of Lawrence residents Raju Ahmed and Syed Jamal. Susan Baker-Anderson, director of children's education at Plymouth, said she and Dani Lotton-Barker, organized the event in support of their friend Jamal. About 250 wrote letters at the church, she said. A similar hourlong letter-writing campaign followed at the Lawrence Islamic Center with the conclusion of the Plymouth event.

February 6, 2018

Advertisement

An attorney for a Bangladeshi-born Lawrence resident is confused about why federal officials are now trying to deport him after he has lived peacefully in the U.S for more than 30 years.

But officials with the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency told the Journal-World on Monday that a federal judge ordered Syed Ahmed Jamal to be deported from the U.S. more than four years ago. For reasons that are unclear, however, federal law enforcement agents only acted on that deportation order last month.

Here is a timeline ICE has provided on Jamal’s case:

• Jamal entered the U.S. in 1987 on a nonimmigrant visa. He overstayed that visa, but was allowed to voluntarily depart the country in July 2002.

• Jamal was allowed to legally re-enter the country on another nonimmigrant visa in Oct. 2002. He again overstayed his visa, and a federal judge ordered him to voluntarily depart the country by October 2011. However, ICE contends Jamal failed to depart the U.S. and the judge then issued a deportation order in 2011.

• Jamal, however, did not leave the U.S. Instead, ICE said “Jamal came to ICE’s attention” in September 2012. ICE did not elaborate on how Jamal came to its attention. At one point on Monday, ICE said Jamal had been arrested on a misdemeanor criminal offense in Johnson County, and ICE became aware of Jamal’s whereabouts at that point. But when the Journal-World failed to find any charges filed against Jamal in Johnson County in 2012, ICE retracted its previous statement and sent a new one that made no mention of a misdemeanor offense.

Lawrence father Syed Jamal, pictured here with his children, was arrested last week and is now facing deportation after more than 30 years living in the U.S. In this photo, the research scientist enjoys a light-hearted moment with his daughter, Naheen, and sons Fareed (on shoulders) and Taseen, during a family vacation in California.

Lawrence father Syed Jamal, pictured here with his children, was arrested last week and is now facing deportation after more than 30 years living in the U.S. In this photo, the research scientist enjoys a light-hearted moment with his daughter, Naheen, and sons Fareed (on shoulders) and Taseen, during a family vacation in California.

Instead, the new statement only said Jamal was “transferred to ICE custody Sept. 11, 2012 from the Johnson County (Kansas) Jail.”

Rekha Sharma-Crawford, a Kansas City, Mo.-based immigration attorney recently retained by the Jamal family, said that information leaves a troubling question unanswered.

“What was he doing in Johnson County Jail?” she asked.

Regardless, Jamal was not deported in 2012. Instead, he was allowed to file an appeal of his deportation order, according to the statement from ICE. A federal appeals board in May 2013 dismissed Jamal’s appeal, and he was again ordered to leave the country.

“To effect this removal order, deportation officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested Jamal outside his residence on Jan. 24, 2018,” ICE said in its statement on Monday.

However, ICE did not provide any explanation about why it had not enforced the deportation order for more than four years, or what sparked the agency to enforce the order last month.

Jamal’s wife, Angela Zaynub Chowdhury, spoke to the Journal-World last week about the arrest and its impact on their three American-born children. The arrest, which occurred in the morning as Jamal was about to drop his kids off at school, was a “complete shock,” Chowdhury said.

“They just showed up,” Chowdhury said. “They put handcuffs on his hands, and they wouldn’t let us hug him or talk to him.”

Chowdhury said her husband originally came to the U.S. on a student visa to attend the University of Kansas in 1987. He earned bachelor’s degrees in biology, biochemistry and philosophy from Rockhurst University in 1997, before earning his master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2001.

After returning to Bangladesh briefly in 2002 to marry Chowdhury, Jamal returned to the U.S. with his wife a few months later, this time on an H1B visa to work at Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital. He then had his status changed to a student visa in order to pursue a doctorate degree at KU.

Jamal overstayed that visa, opting to remain in the U.S. with his three American children even when given the option for voluntary departure, Chowdhury said.

The family’s attorney, Sharma-Crawford, said papers would be filed Monday to legally challenge the 2011 proceedings that ordered Jamal voluntarily leave the U.S.

“I think it is unfortunate that the climate of the United States has shifted so dramatically to the right where the appreciation for people who have literally been long-term community members and fathers and employees and really have no other negative factors in their history, that this (deportation) is what we’re doing,” Sharma-Crawford said.

The public has rallied around Jamal and his family since news of his arrest broke late last week. Letter-writing campaigns at Plymouth Congregational Church and the Islamic Center of Lawrence on Saturday attracted hundreds of participants. As of Monday afternoon, a Change.org petition created in support of Jamal had reached nearly 27,000 signatures.

“We are moving full speed ahead,” said Jamal’s brother, Syed Hussein Jamal, of Arizona. “The family is very thankful for the support from the community.”

Comments

Bill Turner 2 weeks, 3 days ago

There are immigrants on visas right now who are following the letter of the law trying to stay and work here. People who regularly renew their visas on time, apply for permanent resident status, and eventually citizenship. How is giving Mr. Jamal a pass on his errors fair to those people? The system is not easy to navigate, and those who jump through all the hoops, cross all their 't's, and dot all their 'i's should be the people we fight for. Mr. Jamal has had multiple opportunities to do things the right way, and he's been some combination of negligent and lazy about it. For something as important as being able to live with your family and work freely in the country of your choosing, Mr. Jamal hasn't taken the immigration process very seriously. Does 30 years of being a nice guy override his wrongs? Exactly how many years must someone be a nice guy to qualify for this exemption? I'm sure many other legal immigrants would like to know.

Jean Robart 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Absolutely correct! He skirted the law. Simple fact. He has lived a peaceful life here. But he is here ILLEGALLY. He needs to go back to his home country. And if allowed years in the future, apply to come here LEGALLY.

MerriAnnie Smith 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Melania Trump, for one.

She had to marry a rich man no intelligent woman would ever want to be seen with in order to get it all ignored about how she came on a visa that didn't allow her to work but she posed in the nude and got paid for it anyways.

Wonder how she got away with that.

Gary Stussie 2 weeks, 2 days ago

"no intelligent woman would ever want to be seen with" ... want to bet?

Glenda Susie Breese 2 weeks, 2 days ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Matt O'Reilly 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Not the same person. There are two Lawrence residents from Bangladesh who are in ICE custody currently. The one you're referring to owns the tobacco shop near where Sandbar used to be on 8th St. This person worked as a teacher.

Geoff Ermlap 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Unfortunately, the more publicity Mr. Jamal's case gets the less likely he will get a favorable outcome. Trump and Kobach will thrive on the publicity and almost certainly use it to push for his deportation so they can beat their chests.

Pete Kennamore 2 weeks, 3 days ago

By all means lets decide which laws to enforce by online petition.

RJ Johnson 2 weeks, 2 days ago

This is the statement from ICE: "Syed Ahmed Jamal, 55, from Bangladesh, initially legally entered the United States in July 1998 on a temporary nonimmigrant visa. After he overstayed that visa, a federal immigration judge allowed him voluntary departure until Aug. 26, 2002. He abided the judge’s order and departed for Bangladesh on July 24, 2002. Three months later, Jamal legally re-entered the United States on Oct. 25, 2002, on a temporary nonimmigrant visa. He again overstayed his visa, and a federal immigration judge allowed him voluntary departure until Oct. 26, 2011. However, Jamal violated the judge’s order and failed to depart the United States, and the voluntary departure order instead became a final order of removal (deportation). Jamal came to ICE’s attention in September 2012 following his arrest on misdemeanor criminal charges at Johnson County (Kansas) Jail. He was taken into ICE custody Sept. 11, 2012. He was released from ICE custody on an order of supervision in November 2012. On May 21, 2013, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissed Jamal’s appeal of his removal order. To effect this removal order, deportation officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested Jamal outside his residence on Jan. 24, 2018. He is currently in ICE custody pending his removal to Bangladesh."

Chad Lawhorn 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Just to be clear, this is the statement that ICE has now withdrawn. The new statement does not mention the "misdemeanor criminal charges." That's explained in the article. Thanks, Chad Lawhorn, Editor.

Calvin Anders 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Well Pete, it's not online petition that is driving this ICE action, but political theater. ICE seems to be ramping up their arbitrary roundups. And it's not clear what their priorities are. It's unsettling to me that ICE would indicate Mr. Jamal had committed a crime in 2012, then change their story when it is challenged. Why would ICE feel the need to make up details about the case in order to justify their actions? This seems more like a big political show than impartial administration of the law.

Andrew Applegarth 2 weeks, 2 days ago

A more likely scenario is that Johnson County didn't bother to file charges against an individual being held for transfer to ICE and deportation. When questioned about it, it was quicker and easier for ICE to remove an extraneous detail rather than to request the arrest record from Johnson County in order to clarify said detail. Coupled with the fact that something led to him being run through the system in Johnson County, I see no reason to believe that ICE made anything up.

I'm not saying that's the way it happened. I'm just saying it's a more likely version than what Calvin suggested.

Bob Smith 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Enforcing the law of the land is political theater now? Who knew?

Sam Crow 2 weeks, 2 days ago

The KC Star article about this situation 3 days ago wrote that he has 5 siblings in the country.

All are well educated professionals.

All have become citizens.

This guy just blew it off for many years.

Josh Berg 2 weeks, 2 days ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Ken Lassman 2 weeks, 2 days ago

That's another guy, Josh. Please keep your cases straight.

Francis Hunt 2 weeks, 2 days ago

I feel badly for this man's family. As citizens we have rights and with those rights we have responsibilities. If you don't know what your rights and responsibilities are as citizens you can find them here www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learners/ci....

I know he never became a citizen (and one would have to ask why not?) but one of those responsibilities is to respect and obey federal, state and local laws. I know, many consider this responsibility as optional, but the fact is he had many, many chances to do this the right way and he did not. Nobody else made that decision for him, he made the choice. Point your fingers all you want but this is the result of his poor choices.

While our crazy president and secretary of state will make an example of him he has no one to blame but himself and that is terribly unfortunate for his family. His children will pay for his poor decisions.

Bob Summers 2 weeks, 2 days ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Camille McAsey Wheeler 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Bob- your are taking about a different person. There are two different. Situations happening right now.

Sign in to comment

loading...