ICE didn’t waste anytime in deporting Syed Ahmed Jamal.
Jamal, a Kansas chemistry teacher, who is fighting efforts to deport him to Bangladesh, was whisked into a plane Monday (Feb. 11) as soon as the temporary stay against his deportation ended and before an appeal could be granted. He didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to his wife and three children.
His attorneys immediately filed an appeal but it took a few hours to get a judge to agree to another stay. By then, he was in the air on his way to Bangladesh when the appeal was granted. He was taken off the plane and placed in detention in Honolulu where the plane had stopped to refuel.
“Not much new development today,” said Jamal’s attorney Rekha Sharma-Crawford said Tuesday (Feb. 13). “Syed is still in the Honolulu Federal Detention Center.”
Jamal, 55, has lived in the United States for 30 years, overstaying his second visa in 2011. He was arrested in his driveway Jan. 25 as he was about to drive his daughter to school.
Jamal’s case has led to a massive outpouring of support from friends, neighbors and critics of Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Jamal’s supporters held a rally Saturday protesting his pending deportation.
Jamal’s supporters emphasize that he has committed no crimes during the time he has lived in the United States.
They say his case is an example of how the recent crackdown by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has swept up law-abiding immigrants, despite Trump’s initial promise that deportations would target dangerous criminals.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas, to whom Jamal’s supporters appealed for help, said the case was an example of the country’s “broken and unfair immigration system.”
He pledged to offer a bill that would allow Jamal to stay in the country.
“The system is broken. We need to fix these laws that criminalize hard-working, contributing members of society like Mr Syed Jamal,” Cleaver said.
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.
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