Archive for Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Lawrence father fighting deportation now held in Hawaii

Syed Jamal, right, visits Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, with a group including his lawyers and U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver at the Texas detention center where Jamal was being held. Jamal, a Lawrence scientist and father of three, is facing deportation after more than 30 years in the U.S.

Syed Jamal, right, visits Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, with a group including his lawyers and U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver at the Texas detention center where Jamal was being held. Jamal, a Lawrence scientist and father of three, is facing deportation after more than 30 years in the U.S.

February 13, 2018

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— A Lawrence father and husband who is fighting efforts to deport him to Bangladesh was taken off a plane that was flying him back to his native country and is being held at a detention center in Hawaii, his attorneys said Tuesday.

Federal immigration officials put Syed Ahmed Jamal, 55, who has lived in Kansas for 30 years, on the plane Monday before an immigration panel granted a temporary stay in the case. He was taken off the flight when it stopped to refuel in Honolulu, said Rekha Sharma-Crawford, one of his attorneys.

Sharma-Crawford said Tuesday that immigration officials could return Jamal to the U.S. voluntarily, but if they don't, her firm will ask a federal judge to order his return.

"It is our hope that doesn't have to happen and they will now at this point return him back to his family but we'll have to just see what happens," she said.

Jamal and his supporters have been battling his deportation since Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested him Jan. 24 at his family's home in Lawrence, where he lives with his wife and three children, who are U.S. citizens.

Until getting on the plane Monday, Jamal was being held at a detention center in El Paso, Texas. A judge lifted a temporary stay Monday morning. Sharma-Crawford said his attorneys and family were not notified before he was put on the plane. When they found out, they immediately sought a new stay from the Board of Immigration Appeals in Virginia, which granted one later Monday while Jamal was flying to Bangladesh.

ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok confirmed Tuesday that Jamal was in the Honolulu center "pending disposition of his immigration case."

As of early Tuesday afternoon, Jamal had not spoken to his family.

Jamal's possible deportation had prompted a backlash, with a protest march in Lawrence and 94,000 people signing a petition supporting him.

Rep. Emauel Cleaver, a Democrat from Missouri whose office was flooded with calls about the case, took up Jamal's cause, even visiting him in El Paso over the weekend. On Tuesday, Cleaver's spokeswoman said he is still interested in proposing a private bill that would allow Jamal to stay in the U.S.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins, whose Kansas district includes Lawrence, said before the second stay was issued Monday that she supported Jamal's efforts to have his immigration case reopened.

"My heart aches for his wife and children," Jenkins said. "I cannot imagine what they are going through during this very difficult time."

Jamal has worked as an adjunct professor and researcher at Kansas City-area colleges. He entered the U.S. legally in 1987 to attend the University of Kansas but overstayed his visa while pursuing a doctorate. He was ordered deported in 2011 but had been allowed to stay in the U.S. and check in regularly with immigration authorities.

Sharma-Crawford said Jamal has a work permit that is valid until October 2018 and that he was trying to work within what she said was a complicated immigration system.

ICE officials have consistently declined to explain why they chose to enforce the order in late January.

Comments

MerriAnnie Smith 1 week, 2 days ago

Thinking about Bangladesh. Our Baptist churches sent missionaries to that country as long ago, at least, as when my oldest was in 1st grade -- in 1972. Her first grade teacher and her husband had spent years in Bangladesh at a mission.

She taught our kids how to count to ten in the Bangladesh language. Here it is, 46 years later and I'm testing my memory here. I think it was (spelling is likely way off) this:

Ek Dui Tin Char Punch Choy Shat At Noy Dosh

But to the point, we sent Christian missionaries to Bangladesh. Is that possibly what eventually brought this man and his brothers to the US? I think it did bring many people here. They became Christians and came here to live for that reason. I've met people from other countries that are not traditionally Christians who did come here to live among other Christians.

So, we grab them in the most insulting way possible... in front of their families and neighbors... and we treat them as if they're common criminals who murder, steal, and drive drunk.

And by "we" I mean the Christians who support Trump and his malicious ugly ideas about brown people from other countries.

Just musing on how far we've come since 1972 --- but then, that was the Nixon era, so...

Bob Smith 1 week, 2 days ago

At least the feds have him headed in the right direction.

Ray Mizumura 1 week, 2 days ago

Thank you for your smart, humane post MerriAnnie. You are headed in the right direction. And, surprisingly, so is Lynn Jenkins, who seems to be doing the right thing on behalf of Mr. Jamal and his family.

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