A Lawrence business owner and convicted sex offender who has been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation back to to his native Bangladesh is still in custody pending "disposition of his immigration case," according to an email Tuesday from ICE officials.
Raju Ahmed, 40, is one of two Bangladeshi citizens who were arrested Jan. 24 by ICE in Lawrence. Both men have lived for many years in Lawrence and have families here.
The other man, Syed Jamal, 55, a scientist and father of three who has been in the U.S. for 30 years, is currently being held in Hawaii, where he is awaiting final resolution of his Board of Immigration Appeals case. Jamal has no criminal record in the U.S., and his removal by ICE has been the subject of national news stories, petitions and attempted interventions on his behalf by various lawmakers. On Monday he won another last-minute stay of removal around the same time he was put on a plane for Bangladesh. The plane had to refuel in Hawaii, and Jamal was taken off the plane and placed in federal detention in Honolulu. His family is hopeful that he will be allowed to return to the Kansas City area pending resolution of his case.
As for the other Lawrence man, Ahmed, his wife, Salma, told the Journal-World Tuesday that Ahmed is still being held in the Versailles, Mo., detention facility, but she said she didn't know anything more.
Ahmed, who owns Tobacco Bazaar at 14 E. Eighth St., initially legally entered the U.S. in June 2000 on a nonimmigrant visa, according to ICE, but his legal status in the U.S. was terminated. In 2005, he was convicted of two felonies in Douglas County: attempted aggravated burglary and attempted aggravated sexual assault. He received a two-year prison sentence, and was ordered to register as a sex offender for 25 years. ICE said it had processed him for removal to Bangladesh based on a final order issued on Aug. 22, 2006, but it released him on Feb. 12, 2007, after it was unable to obtain the appropriate travel document.
In the next 10 years after his release he became the owner of a Lawrence business and fathered two daughters. Recently, ICE said, it was able to get the travel document and picked up Ahmed at his Lawrence home on the same day Jamal was picked up.
The Journal-World is trying to determine whether other people, from Bangladesh or elsewhere, were also picked up that day.
Although it's unclear why the case of Jamal, who had no criminal record, moved faster toward deportation than the case of Ahmed, who had two felonies, ICE officials have acknowledged that under President Trump's administration immigration enforcement has become more aggressive and has targeted "noncriminal" immigrants at an ever-increasing pace.
ICE official Matthew Albence told the Washington Post Sunday that "there’s no list where we rank ‘This is illegal alien number 1 all the way down to 2.3 million.’”
— Reporter Elvyn Jones contributed to this report.
More coverage: Raju Ahmed deportation case• Feb. 13 — Other Bangladeshi resident of Lawrence who was detained by ICE is still awaiting disposition of immigration case
• Feb. 6 — Lawrence business owner, convicted sex offender was allowed to stay in U.S. for more than a decade because ICE couldn't get travel document
• Feb. 5 — Lawrence business owner reportedly detained by ICE has been on sex offender registry for 12 years
More coverage: Syed Jamal deportation case• Feb. 14 — Immigration law expert explains rocky path to citizenship; for cases like Syed Jamal's, it's complicated
• Feb. 14 — Syed Jamal back in Kansas City area, but still detained, attorneys say
• Feb. 13 — Rep. Jenkins introduces bill that would assist Lawrence father Syed Jamal in deportation battle
• Feb. 12 — Board of Immigration Appeals grants new stay of removal for Syed Jamal
• Feb. 8 — Crowd marches downtown to support detained Lawrence scientist Syed Jamal
• Feb. 8 — Lawrence scientist Syed Jamal granted temporary stay of removal; judge's ruling on deportation expected within 10 days
• Feb. 7 — Brother worries Lawrence scientist could be deported within days; Kansas congressman ‘disturbed’ by prioritization of noncriminal case
• Feb. 6 — Mystery grows around pending deportation of longtime Lawrence resident; online protest petition tops 27,000 signatures
• Feb. 3 — Bangladeshi-born Lawrence scientist, father of 3 now facing deportation after 30-plus years in U.S.