National law firm announces pro bono support in deportation case of Lawrence father; hearing date set

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.

One of the nation’s largest law firms has joined the legal fight to free Syed Jamal, the Lawrence father whose deportation case has attracted international attention over the last several months.

Polsinelli, of Kansas City, Mo., announced Thursday afternoon that its lawyers have partnered with Jamal’s immigration counsel, Rekha Sharma-Crawford, in efforts to release Jamal from jail and obtain permanent residence status for the 55-year-old scientist and academic, who has lived in the U.S. for more than 30 years.

Jamal, who was born in Bangladesh, has remained in U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement custody since his arrest Jan. 24 in Lawrence. He’s been detained at Missouri’s Platte County Jail for nearly a month now as his family fights for his release.

Polsinelli’s pro bono efforts have been spearheaded by Alan Anderson, a neighbor of Jamal’s and vice chair of Polsinelli’s Energy Practice Group. Polsinelli has more than 800 attorneys and 20 offices nationwide.

A news release from Polsinelli said the legal team has “capitalized on the firm’s public policy strengths both locally and nationally in Washington, D.C.” to assist Jamal and his family, including his wife, Angela Zaynub Chowdhury, and their three U.S.-born children.

Jamal’s case is currently under review by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals and federal courts in Washington, D.C., the news release said. ICE has stated that it does not intend to release Jamal and return him to his family under a continued order of supervision while the courts review his case.

Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security filed a motion with the Board of Immigration Appeals asking it to lift the stay of removal and expedite Jamal’s appeal in an effort to speed up his legal review.

Polsinelli also said its legal team is “working around the clock” to build support for a private bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins that would grant Jamal and his wife, also from Bangladesh, permanent residence status.

A hearing date in Jamal’s case has been set for March 20 in Kansas City, Mo.