Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Board of Immigration Appeals grants new stay of removal for Syed Jamal

Syed Jamal, left, visits with U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, right, during the congressman's visit Saturday to the Texas detention center where Jamal is being held. Jamal, a Lawrence scientist and father of three, is facing deportation after more than 30 years in the U.S.

Syed Jamal, left, visits with U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, right, during the congressman's visit Saturday to the Texas detention center where Jamal is being held. Jamal, a Lawrence scientist and father of three, is facing deportation after more than 30 years in the U.S.

February 12, 2018, 12:04 p.m. Updated February 13, 2018, 9:29 a.m.

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In what Syed Jamal’s attorney has called an “extraordinary” turn of events, the Lawrence father, whose deportation arrest and subsequent legal battle has made national headlines over the last several weeks, has been granted another temporary stay of removal.

Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law, the firm representing Jamal, announced the news shortly before hosting a press conference Monday afternoon at its Kansas City, Mo., offices. There, Rekha Sharma-Crawford, Jamal’s attorney, confirmed the Bangladeshi-born scientist was on a plane headed to Honolulu but that she hadn’t been notified where Jamal would be taken next.

UPDATE 9:30 a.m.: According to social media posts by Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law and an online listing by ICE, Syed Jamal's location as of Tuesday morning was the Honolulu Federal Detention Center.

Sharma-Crawford and Jamal’s family are asking that he be returned to Kansas in the meantime. With a stay of removal, Sharma-Crawford said, “there’s really no reason to leave him out in Honolulu.”

“The minute he leaves American air space, the courts lose jurisdiction. So, because they’re landing in Hawaii, this gives the courts jurisdiction,” she said. “It is our hope that they will bring him back and not leave him in Hawaii.”

Jamal’s status changed dramatically within the span of just a few hours, starting with his removal by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from an El Paso, Texas, detention center around 7 a.m. Monday. Later that morning, around 11:45 a.m., Jamal’s legal team learned that a judge had ruled against reopening his case. At that time, Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law posted on Facebook, there was no stay of removal in place, leaving Jamal at risk of deportation.

In response, his attorneys filed a last-minute appeal around 1 p.m. Monday along with a fresh motion for stay of removal. Sharma-Crawford and Jamal’s brother, Syed Hussein Jamal, said the Department of Homeland Security had kept them in the dark about Jamal’s whereabouts until news broke around 4:30 p.m. that a new stay of removal had been granted after a temporary one had been granted last week to allow time for the judge's ruling.

“To put a family through that, where they don’t know where their loved one is — it’s outrageous,” Sharma-Crawford said.

Jamal was reportedly upbeat this past weekend while receiving a visit from U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Sharma-Crawford told the Journal-World Monday morning.

Sharma-Crawford said her husband and law partner, Michael Sharma-Crawford, also traveled to the El Paso detention center where Jamal was being held at the time. Sharma-Crawford, an immigration attorney based in Kansas City, Mo., said her husband met with Jamal and Cleaver, D-Missouri, this past Saturday.

“He’s keeping in good spirits and was in a very positive mood,” she said of Jamal Monday morning, hours before news broke of his then-impending removal. “ … He was inquiring about the congressman’s family, which kind of shows you his character.”

Naheen Jamal, 12-year-old daughter of Syed Jamal, center, is flanked by her friends Elizabeth Anderson, left, and Anna Anderson as they lead a Free Syed Jamal march on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 at Lawrence Creates. Jamal, a Bangladeshi-born Lawrence resident, research scientist and academic, was detained by ICE on Jan. 24. Jamal was issued a temporary stay of deportation on Wednesday.

Naheen Jamal, 12-year-old daughter of Syed Jamal, center, is flanked by her friends Elizabeth Anderson, left, and Anna Anderson as they lead a Free Syed Jamal march on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 at Lawrence Creates. Jamal, a Bangladeshi-born Lawrence resident, research scientist and academic, was detained by ICE on Jan. 24. Jamal was issued a temporary stay of deportation on Wednesday.

Jamal has not seen his wife and children since Jan. 24, when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested the 55-year-old scientist and academic outside his Lawrence home. Jamal’s wife, Angela Zaynub Chowdhury, who is also from Bangladesh, has said the incident traumatized their three children, all of whom are U.S. citizens. Jamal, who has lived in the U.S. for more than 30 years, has no criminal record in Douglas County.

Cleaver announced plans over the weekend to advance special legislation this week that would seek to release Jamal from custody and secure his legal status, according to the Kansas City Star. After visiting Jamal in Texas on Saturday, Cleaver spoke in support of the Lawrence father during a rally Sunday in Kansas City, Mo., where he showed a drawing by Jamal’s youngest son, Fareed.

The drawing of a dragon was accompanied by a simple, handwritten message in marker: “I miss my dad.”

Republican U.S. Rep Lynn Jenkins also expressed her dismay with the course of events Monday.

The congresswoman, who represents Kansas’ second district, issued the following statement to the Journal-World before news broke of Jamal’s fresh stay of removal late Monday afternoon:

“Last week I wrote a letter in support of Mr. Jamal’s case being reopened to ensure due process is served. I am disappointed to learn of the Judge’s decision to not re-open the case,” Jenkins, whose congressional district includes Lawrence, said in a statement. “My heart aches for his wife and children. I cannot imagine what they are going through during this very difficult time.”

In a story published Sunday in the Washington Post, former acting ICE director John Sandweg explained the difference in how the agency prioritizes deportation arrests since President Donald Trump took office a year ago. Sandweg, who helped draft a 2014 memo that prioritized arrests based on the severity of immigrants’ criminal records, said ICE has the resources to deport only about 200,000 cases a year from the country’s interior.

“The problem is, when you remove all priorities, it’s like a fisherman who could just get his quota anywhere,” Sandweg told the Washington Post. “It diminishes the incentives on the agents to go get the bad criminals. Now their job is to fill beds.”

Matthew Albence, executive associate director of ICE’s immigration enforcement division, said the agency’s priority remains the same as it did under former President Barack Obama: focusing on those who pose a threat to public safety or national security. However, agents are now also enforcing judges’ deportation orders against all immigrants who are subject to deportation, regardless of criminal record or lack thereof.

“There’s no list where we rank ‘This is illegal alien number 1 all the way down to 2.3 million,” Albence told the Post.

Trump in January 2017 issued an executive order that expanded ICE’s enforcement and removal focus to include individuals who may not have committed any crimes but who, “in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.”

Rekha Sharma-Crawford said she didn’t expect any updates on his case Monday night. Any new information would likely come out Tuesday morning at the earliest, she said.

Comments

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

Now the IRS can take their time examining the company he's been working for while he was illegally in America.

Abby Chugden 2 months, 1 week ago

He was a business OWNER. He had already filed for citizenship, which was taking forever. ICE just told him (like the professor at KU) to just check in annually with them until the paperwork went through. It never did. He paid his business and personal taxes, btw....

Nancy Hamilton 2 months, 1 week ago

It costs approximately 10k to deport someone. This guy was gainfully employed. So, we are not only out the 10k, but KS and the US have lost a tax payer, and Lawrence merchants have lost money from his patronage. Brilliant use of taxpayer resources.

Bill Turner 2 months, 1 week ago

On the other hand, now there's a job opening for a legal resident or citizen looking for employment, who will then become a tax payer and perhaps patronize Lawrence merchants with his new-found income.

Abby Chugden 2 months, 1 week ago

He WAS a Lawrence merchant, paid his taxes, and most likely employed citizens of Lawrence. Why can't people read up on things first???

Bill Turner 2 months, 1 week ago

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Ray Mizumura 2 months, 1 week ago

Oh, come on, these fine "people" read! They're always following InfoWars and Trumper's tweets!!

Nancy Hamilton 2 months, 1 week ago

Yes because America has an abundance of research chemists. (that was sarcasm, we don't).

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 1 week ago

And now his family might have to go on welfare.

Jake Davis 2 months, 1 week ago

You are correct Nancy...Hopefully ICE will seize his assets and begin a forfeiture to collect the money we will have to spend to deport him because he failed to follow the immigration laws.

Geoff Ermlap 2 months, 1 week ago

He was following the immigration laws and was currently waiting for the government to respond to his actions that were in accordance with the federal laws, but of course, that doesnt fit the selfish inhumane "king of the Hill" mentality that the haters are locked into

Abby Chugden 2 months, 1 week ago

I was going to say.....he WAS a Lawrence merchant! It's ridiculous.

Bill Turner 2 months, 1 week ago

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Bill Turner 2 months, 1 week ago

Sigh. So, without naming names, you're thinking of someone else. Look back through the old articles. The current individual is not a Lawrence merchant.

Paul Youk 2 months, 1 week ago

Well that, and it is kind of evil to rip a family apart for what boils down to arbitrary, bureaucratic reasons. By all accounts, Jamal contributes to his community, loves his family, and is a good person. He's proven he is an asset to our country, not a threat.

Armen Kurdian 2 months, 1 week ago

For all you bleeding hearts, I get the sense he was given multiple opportunities to do the right thing, make the proper applications, update his visa, or do what needed to be done to become a citizen. ICE doesn't go after people like this if they aren't causing trouble. But all the signs point to him having not complied with the law multiple times, so now he has to face the consequences.

I'm sure at some point he'll be allowed to return, and given another opportunity. But this sends a message that you can't just flaunt immigration & visa rules. I feel bad for his family, but this is SQUARELY and 100% on him, NOT ICE.

Paul Youk 2 months, 1 week ago

"I get the sense"

i.e. "I have no actual objective evidence".

Armen Kurdian 2 months, 1 week ago

Except what was reported in the article about when he failed to comply with the law and said opportunities. So there you go silly goose.

Ray Mizumura 2 months, 1 week ago

The justice system in this country has a different view, at least for now, and a much, much more valid one than yours (not a real high bar there, of course). Plus, Rep. Jenkins, a Tea-Party conservative, has spoken up for the man and his family. That carries some weight. She's anything but a "bleeding heart." Get real.

Scott Callahan 2 months, 1 week ago

You don't get it, do you? He was living here illegally. His family is free to leave with him. For that matter, so are the 94,000 people who signed his petition.

Abby Chugden 2 months, 1 week ago

YOU don't get it. He has filed paperwork in the past for citizenship. It takes SO LONG for it to go through, that ICE agents just tell them to keep checking in annually. So these people comply with what ICE was telling him to do. He was a business owner and paid business and personal taxes. Oh, and his kids? American citizens. I signed the petition because our money is better spent going after illegals with criminal backgrounds. It's the fact that I'm allowed to voice my opinion that makes this country special!

Chris Crandall 2 months, 1 week ago

I enjoy ignorant comments as much as the rest of you, but the easy claim of his illegality just ain't correct. He had approval to stay in the country from ICE, and they were negotiating his status.

You may not realize this, but there aren't two simple states of documentation--legal and illegal. There are many gray areas, and Mr. Jamal was in one of those gray areas. Furthermore, he was being very cooperative with ICE, checking in regularly, while paying taxes, raising his family of US citizens, providing college-level chemistry instruction at a reasonable rate of pay. His work was in demand, and he was a law-abiding 30-year resident of the USA. He was singled out without due process--and due process is the bedrock of democratic liberty.

Maybe you think he should be deported, maybe not. But it's plain ignorance to claim that "he had nobody to blame but himself," or that the 94,000 people who signed a petition should also be deported, or that he didn't do all those things (applications, visas) to keep his stay documented, or that he didn't pay his legal share of taxes [without being able to seek Social Security, even though he paid into it], or that the "companies" he worked for need to be investigated . . . well it's just plain ignorant.

Keep that in mind when we think about who deserves to be in the USA. We keep it open for ignorant people. Why not people who teach college, pay taxes, raise citizens, and have a 30-year clean record?

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

We don't know that the offender paid taxes.

Joshua Cain 2 months, 1 week ago

Bob,

His prior H1B status requires a tax payer ID. He likely has whats called an ITIN as opposed to a SSN. Lets not forget that his initial Visa status was that of a student then an H1B so it's not accurate for anyone to say that he had 30 years of illegal residence. It's likely much less than that. I bet he came over on a student F1 visa....graduated then got his H1B. You should look into H1B visas. They're specifically designed to recruit talent that is lacking in the US. Specifically STEM fields of study. His particular situation is much more nuanced than being legal or illegal.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 1 week ago

The hateful statements on here are by people who like to blame others for their failures. They are certain if we get rid of immigration all together, they will suddenly magically start a business, get an education, make lots of money. They can't see it's their lack of motivation that holds them back.

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

"...The hateful statements on here are by people who like to blame others for their failures..." The offender is being held responsible for his own failures.

Daniel Kennamore 2 months, 1 week ago

To the lot on here squealing with glee that this family is being torn apart, you should really reevaluate your values.

Greg Cooper 2 months, 1 week ago

As are you, if his country would even have you.

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

I have no affinity for this offender. Why would I want to accompany him?

Ray Mizumura 2 months, 1 week ago

Bangladesh has been through enough misery. Sure wouldn't wish that on them.

Armen Kurdian 2 months, 1 week ago

I for one am not sqealing with glee. But this situation would have been preventable if he had followed the rules he had been given. Having read the previous articles, it is evident he missed multiple deadlines to file to stay in the country. It is unfortunate and sad for his family that he broke the law several times, and has put himself and his family in this situation. Sounds like he could have researched how to become a citizen after all this time, I'm betting that could have been successful for him. But he has only himself to blame, and now his family has to suffer for it.

Armen Kurdian 2 months, 1 week ago

No one is sqealing with glee, at least I'm not. But this is his fault. He missed multiple deadlines, and failed to comply with the requirements to stay in the U.S., and now he and his family have to face the consequences. This falls on HIM, NOT ICE. Not sure if he really filed for citizenship, but after all this time something should have occurred, you file something like that, you follow up, you make sure it's moving.

If there's a massive backlog in the system, that's a flag for more resources that need to be added, or process review.

Bob, let's be a little less stark here, just hope the best for his family, he learns his lesson, this gets fixed, and I guarantee he'll be back in the U.S. fairly soon.

Ray Mizumura 2 months, 1 week ago

They don't have any, Daniel. They are amoral.

Bill Turner 2 months, 1 week ago

No one here is gleeful. There are rules, and he didn't follow them on multiple occasions. Aside from that, he's being promoted as more than he is: he does not have a Ph.D., as he failed to complete his degree. Despite media reports, he is not a professor, though he may be an instructor at some area schools. And he is not a 'well respected scientist' - he is completely unknown in the scientific community and has precisely zero peer reviewed publications. The fact that he has generally been a good guy for a while doesn't entitle him to jump the line in front of people who have toiled to stay within the bounds of the law and do things properly.

Abby Chugden 2 months, 1 week ago

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RJ Johnson 2 months, 1 week ago

In 2012 this gentleman was asked by ICE to leave the country voluntarily. He ignored/blow off the order and now the Government is removing him. Nobody's fault except his own!

Clara Westphal 2 months, 1 week ago

It was a judge who told him to voluntarily deport and he defied a court order.

Hudson Luce 2 months, 1 week ago

The great mystery here is that he has five siblings - brothers and sisters - who have managed to finish professional education here, who have become naturalized US citizens, and are employed as professionals in their chosen careers. What's special about Syed, that he couldn't or didn't manage to do what his siblings were able to do?

Ken Lassman 2 months, 1 week ago

Do you realize that there is a 14 year backlog on granting citizenship for Bangladeshis? He is "only" 10 years into the waiting line, hence his annual check-ins and following all of the rules so he can follow his siblings' footsteps. He has done nothing wrong and up until know was reassured just to be patient: his time to become a citizen will arrive. Unfortunately the policy change to open the gates from pursuing immigrants who are criminals to just filling quotas with warm bodies is the only reason that I can see that Sayed is being deported.

Joshua Cain 2 months, 1 week ago

Hudson,

His immigration status isn't the same as his siblings. He was here on a student visa then an H1B. Both of those prevent him from gaining citizenship simultaneously.

Bill Turner 2 months, 1 week ago

Ok, what immigration status did his brothers and sisters use?

Tracy Rogers 2 months, 1 week ago

Go after all the illegals who are here committing crimes before you deport these people who are actually productive, taxpaying citizens.

Armen Kurdian 2 months, 1 week ago

Unless he continues breaking the law and violating conditions of his visa, I'm sure Tracy, you will agree that those were simple requirements he was asked to adhere to.

Tracy Rogers 2 months, 1 week ago

I'm talking criminal activities, not overstaying a work visa. I agree that action should be taken on people like this....but not until they get all the others out of here who are dealing drugs, killing people, etc.

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

If he choses to sneak back in illegally, then he's into felony territory.

Armen Kurdian 2 months, 1 week ago

But when you repeatedly fail to comply with court requests and court orders to appear, it doesn't matter what the civil offense is. This is on him, him alone, and he has no one to blame but himself.

John Brazelton 2 months, 1 week ago

His brother or brother-in-law was legal. His wife was legal. He had 20 years to become legal. No American citizen should feel sorry for him because apparently his legal status wasn't important to him until it was too late.

Terry Sexton 2 months, 1 week ago

"Beware of all those in whom the urge to punish is strong." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Steve Hicks 2 months, 1 week ago

Or better, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." Anyone who's adamant Mr. Jamal should be booted for breaking the law can examine themselves on that score. I know I wouldn't have standing under Jesus' teaching to boot Mr. Jamal.

I was impressed that Rep. Cleaver, a former minister, traveled to El Paso to meet with Mr. Jamal. Probably not particularly in his political interests, since Mr. Jamal doesn't even live in his district, or particularly have supporters there. Evidently Rep. Cleaver just thought it was the right thing to do.

Reps. Jenkins and Yoder have also spoken up. I haven't heard so, but I imagine Senators Roberts and Moran may have written letters to someone. Good, as far as it goes, that Mr. Jamal has Kansas' Congresspeople's sympathy.

Ray Mizumura 2 months, 1 week ago

Good. I like him, I like his resume, and we need more public servants like Rep. Cleaver.

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

BTW, nobody here is suggesting that the offender be stoned. He should man up and face the music. Anyhoo, remember, "Render unto Caesar"?

Steve Hicks 2 months, 1 week ago

UPDATE:

I hear Rep. Cleaver has submitted a bill to allow Mr. Jamal to remain in the U.S.

Maybe our sympathetic Reps. Jenkins and Yoder will co-sponsor it, or at least vote for it.

It's always an open question whether our Republican legislators care more about their constituents than their ideological politics, but it might be worth asking them to support Rep. Cleaver's bill.

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

Government by anecdote is a mug's game.

John Brazelton 2 months, 1 week ago

Over 500,000 individuals overstay their visas every year, yet administration after administration did nothing to punish these individuals who are breaking our immigration laws. America allows over 1 million LEGAL immigrants each and every year. We allow between 50,000 to 100,000 thousand refugees each and every year. Please don't feel sorry when one or two of the law breakers gets deported. This individual had 30 years to make himself legal and it wasn't important enough for him to be successful.

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