Archive for Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Lawrence father Syed Jamal freed from jail as immigration case continues

Lawrence resident Syed Jamal hugs his children after he was released from the Platte County Jail, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Platte City, Mo.

Lawrence resident Syed Jamal hugs his children after he was released from the Platte County Jail, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Platte City, Mo.

March 20, 2018, 9:40 a.m. Updated March 20, 2018, 7:10 p.m.


Syed Jamal had not hugged his children since Jan. 24, when Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents arrested the 55-year-old scientist outside his Lawrence home.

On that morning, Jamal didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to his wife and three kids as ICE officers put him in handcuffs and hauled him off to a Missouri detention center.

All that came to an end, at least for the time being, on Tuesday afternoon, when Jamal’s 7-year-old son rushed into his arms for a long-awaited hug outside the Platte County Jail. The moment came just hours after a federal judge ruled to release the Bangladeshi-born father back to his family while the Board of Immigration Appeals reviews his deportation case.

“It’s a good day,” Angela Zaynub Chowdhury, Jamal’s wife, told reporters Tuesday. “I can touch him. I can hug him.”

Lawrence resident Syed Jamal exits the Platte County Jail, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Platte City, Mo., after a judge ordered his release at a hearing earlier in the day.

Lawrence resident Syed Jamal exits the Platte County Jail, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Platte City, Mo., after a judge ordered his release at a hearing earlier in the day.

The ruling, by federal judge Roseann Ketchmark, applies to a habeas corpus petition filed by Jamal’s legal team challenging his detention by ICE officials. It doesn’t affect Jamal’s precarious deportation status, however, which is still under review.

Jamal’s attorney, Rekha Sharma-Crawford, argued in court Tuesday morning that Jamal has no criminal record and poses no threat to national security. With three kids in Lawrence, Jamal wasn’t a flight risk, Sharma-Crawford argued.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Ray didn’t challenge that argument Tuesday, though Ketchmark did accept Ray’s argument that Jamal’s removal from the country was likely in the foreseeable future. The federal government had previously argued that Ketchmark did not have the jurisdiction to decide whether Jamal should be released from jail.

More than 100 supporters, many of them carpooling from Lawrence for the occasion, attended Jamal’s hearing Tuesday. Friends and family packed the courtroom, with other supporters watching a video feed of the hearing from a nearby overflow room.

Just hours later, Jamal walked freely through the doors of the Platte County Jail in tiny Platte City, Mo., a mesh bag filled with books in tow. His family had sent him the reading materials during his nearly two months in jail, the research scientist and college instructor told reporters that afternoon.

Reporters were the first to greet Jamal upon his release, which occurred so suddenly that his family had not even arrived at the jail yet.

“In prison you have hardly any individuality or identity, pretty much. So, you feel like you are your own person again,” Jamal told reporters outside the detention center. “That freedom feels so much better.”

Sharma-Crawford, while noting Tuesday’s victory, also said Jamal’s legal battle was far from over. The next step in the process is a briefing next month at the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Before his arrest in January, Jamal had lived in the U.S. peacefully for more than 30 years. He has no criminal record in Douglas County, where he has long resided with his wife and three children.

Though access to newspapers and other news media had been limited throughout his jail stay, Jamal said he had been able to keep up somewhat with this month’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Despite being almost entirely “disconnected” from the outside world, Jamal said, word had still traveled back to him in jail that his Jayhawks would play Clemson later this week.

Jamal said he’ll “definitely” be rooting for Kansas, the team of his adopted hometown.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins, whose district includes Lawrence, issued a statement Tuesday following the federal hearing. Jenkins had previously introduced a bill in Congress seeking to aid Jamal and his wife.

“The fact that our government would prioritize resources to attempt to deport Syed is offensive to our common sense and a fiscally reckless use of taxpayer dollars,” Jenkins said, noting that Jamal had worked, paid taxes and raised a family in the United States. “Syed is the type of immigrant our nation always has and should continue to welcome, exactly the type of immigrant this ‘nation of immigrants’ was built by.”


John Brazelton 1 month ago

This is why there are 30 million illegals in the USA. Politicians and judges keep setting them free instead deporting them. It's your tax money, folks, and also your jobs that you are giving away.

William Cummings 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Please provide your source for your claim that ".....there are 30 million illegals in the USA."

Trump got a "pants on fire" for that claim.

Bill McGovern 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Another mindless comment from Brazelton.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Oh, did he get the job you wanted? What was your qualifications? You do know he pays taxes. How many taxes have you paid in the last few years?

Bob Summers 1 month ago

Criminal trespasser set free.

Welcome to Murica.

Kendall Simmons 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Because, of course, we're the ONLY country in the world who doesn't automatically kick out immigrants in our country illegally but who are otherwise not breaking our laws.

And, of course, we're also the ONLY country in the world that doesn't benefit from any of those "criminal trespassers".

Does the concept of "perspective" mean anything to you? How about "pros and cons"? Or remembering that everything is NOT "black and white"? Maybe actually getting off one's butt and fixing problems that can be resolved?

I mean, Trump raised the cap on H2-B visas (non-agricultural temp visas)...and promptly hired a bunch more immigrants to work at, oh, say, Mar-A-Lago.

But! The US farmers who desperately need more temp workers to keep their crops from rotting on the ground, instead of being sold and making money for the country? Were additional H2-A visas (agricultural temp visas) made available? Of course not. Trump didn't need THEM after all. So how does THAT work for us?

And remember how we promised those folks in Afghan that, if they served as translators, etc. for the US military, often risking their lives, they would get SIVs? (Special Immigrant Visas.) Turns out our word as Americans meant nothing...and somehow I don't think that's something we should be proud of.

Murica, indeed.

Glen Stovall 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Defrauding the American people, domestic violence,rape, sexual assault-----all crimes. And yet you have no problem supporting our racist POTUS.HMMMMMMM

Aaron McGrogor 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Then everyone who is not of native american heritage should probably gtfo.

Greg DiVilbiss 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Seriously? This guy is exactly who we want immigrating to our country. It is also his tax money John since he has been paying taxes. Sheeesh.

Bob & John lets hear your family immigration story.

For me my much of my family has been here since the 1700's. However, my paternal grandmother immigrated from Russia in 1911 along with many others who arrived then went to work in factories and sweatshops. As far as I know, her parents never were naturalized did not speak much English yet set the stage for their family to excel.

I agree we need strong borders to stop illegal immigration however you can't make it so difficult for stellar students to remain. Sayed was working within the system and this still happened.

Congratulations to him and his family, hopefully this will get resolved in his favor.

Bob Smith 4 weeks, 1 day ago

If only he hadn't chosen to overstay his visa all those years ago.....

Cee C Rock 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Great news. Welcome back to Lawrence Mr Jamal. You are the type of neighbor that I would be proud to have and that this country needs more than ever.

“Several studies have found a positive impact of skilled immigration on the wages and employment of both college- and non-college-educated natives. Such findings are consistent with the view that skilled immigrants are often complementary to native-born workers” (Source: Academy of Sciences)

In other words, if the U.S. lets in engineers and programmers and researchers from China and India and Cameroon or Bangladesh where Mr. Jamal is from, it’ll raise the wages of U.S.-born tech employees and service workers alike, and create new jobs for everyone. This is good news, because U.S. immigration is rapidly shifting toward the highly skilled. In most states, the average new immigrant is no longer a laborer from Mexico, but an educated worker from Asia. That means that the days of immigrants competing down Americans’ wages are over. To choke off this inflow with xenophobic attitudes, legal restrictions or frightening anti-immigrant rhetoric is delivering a self-inflicted wound for the U.S., and is indicative of ignorance and or shortsighted thinking.

Glen Stovall 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Yes---"the type of neighbor" and type of American that has made our country great! It is so sad that the ignorant and racist POTUS wants to do this to our country.

Bob Reinsch 4 weeks, 1 day ago

I support immigrants and families. I came from both. Congrats to Mr. Jamal and his family.

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