Immigration appeals board grants new stay of deportation for Park University professor, attorney says

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The attorney for a Park University professor facing deportation says an immigration appeals board has granted the man a new stay of removal.

Attorney Rheka Sharma-Crawford tweeted the update on Syed Jamal, the 55-year-old Kansas man from Bangladesh, on Monday afternoon, just hours after a federal immigration judge denied a stay of deportation that was issued last week.

“A federal judge denied Syed Ahmed Jamal’s motion to reopen his immigration case for ‘lack of jurisdiction,’ and vacated the temporary stay of removal that had been granted Feb. 8, 2018,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said of the judge’s Monday morning decision. “Jamal is currently in ICE custody pending his removal to Bangladesh.”

After the judge denied the previous stay, Crawford said they immediately filed an appeal along with a fresh motion for stay with the Board of Immigration Appeals in Falls Church, Virginia. Around 4:30 p.m. the board granted a second temporary stay of removal for Jamal.

Syed Jamal

Jamal has been in the United States for more than 30 years. In January, Jamal was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at his home in Lawrence. His wife and three children watched as immigration officials arrested him.

“They were loading my dad into the car. They had him in handcuffs,” said Taseen Jamal, Jamal’s son, “That moment, it sort of felt like something was missing in my chest, and I couldn’t breathe.”

According to ICE, Jamal overstayed his visa twice and violated an order by a judge to leave the country.

Crawford said in a news conference Monday afternoon that Jamal was taken from a west Texas facility just before 7 a.m. Monday and put on a plane, which is scheduled to stop in Honolulu for fuel.

Crawford said it was “unconscionable” that Jamal was removed from the facility and his family didn’t know where he was being taken before the immigration judge had made a decision Monday morning.

Syed H. Jamal, the Park University professor’s brother who also shares his name, said the family is relieved that the board granted the new stay of deportation, but they are also upset that he was taken before the judge’s decision was made.

“Basically, the rule of law is not being followed,” he said. “How can you pull somebody out at 6:51 in the morning and then give our lawyer notice at 11:45? And then I believe the plane took off before our lawyer even had notice. How is that due process?”

He raised concerns about other people facing deportation that might not have the resources his family does.

“Do you think they can track a plane as to where they’re going? They can’t do that,” he said. “They’ll just sit there as their family is getting deported. This is what the government is doing. It’s sad.”

Crawford said they hope that when the plane stops, Jamal will be brought back to Kansas City, but they don’t know if that will be the case.

“We are hoping he can come home and be with his family, which is really the most important thing at this point,” Crawford said. “We are hoping that DHS will return him back to Kansas City, back to his community, back to his family to wait out now the process as it goes forward with the board of immigration appeals.”

The KC-based attorney said the appeals board’s process is a little bit different. The board typically issued a briefing schedule, which will allow for orderly filings and should mean the process won’t be as rushed as it has been so far, she said.

“I think that the fact that the board did act in an extraordinary way is an indicator of just how complicated this process is and how complicated the issues are,” she said. “It is not a simple matter.”

In the meantime, Jamal’s family and attorneys will keep fighting.

“We don’t give up,” Jamal’s brother said. “We have people who are supporting us all across the country and all across the world.”

Crawford said, although they don’t yet know how Jamal’s case will play out, they hope the family will get a favorable outcome.

“It is our hope that justice will prevail here,” she said.