‘Free Syed’: Kansas community rallies around soon-to-be deported family man
A chemistry professor who’s been in the U.S. for over 30 years may soon be deported to his country of origin, Bangladesh.
Syed Ahmed Jamal of Lawrence, Kan., was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers on Jan. 24.
Since then, his family and the community in Kansas has rallied around him, holding demonstrations and raising awareness for his case.
ICE detained Jamal, 55, for overstaying his visa – court documents show he first came to the U.S. on a student visa in 1987, then worked on an HB1 visa (skilled workers visa) before returning to a student visa to go back to school.
In 2011, a court ordered him to leave the country. But in 2012, the Department of Homeland Security allowed him to stay in the U.S. on temporary work cards, the BBC reports.
Jamal’s lawyers said they’ve filed an appeal and a motion to stay, which was granted by a judge Monday afternoon.
Jamal’s lawyers said he was removed from a detention centre in Texas, despite an official report saying he was still there. His lawyers said they’re not sure due process was followed in this case.
“An attack on the system is an attack on due process,” Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law wrote on Facebook.
Jamal’s brother said he doesn’t understand why the case is moving so quickly.
“He’s a low-priority individual,” Syed H. Jamal said. “We don’t understand the urgency of getting someone like that kicked out, who has roots here for 30 years.”
Jamal was working as a chemistry professor at Park University.
On Sunday, his wife and three children marched in a rally to support his case – which was attended by hundreds of people along with U.S. lawmakers.
Jamal’s wife, Zaynub Chowdhury, told reporters she’s losing sleep worrying about the case.
“It’s terrible. I can’t sleep at night. I’m awake all night, every day. He’s not there,” Chowdhury said.
“He lived in Kansas more than he lived in Banglesdesh. He loves the community, he doesn’t want to move.”
One of Jamal’s three children, Taseen Jamal, said though there’s no one to blame, he hopes someone can help.
“It hurts to know there is no one to blame for this. It’s just our policies. I hope people who can change those see how much it can hurt a family,” Jamal’s son told reporters.
During the rally on Sunday, U.S. Representative Emmanuel Cleaver promised to seek special help for Jamal’s case. Cleaver also promised to work for the thousands of families with similar problems, The Kansas Star reports.
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