Deportation date set for Park University professor detained by ICE officials at Lawrence home
LAWRENCE, Kan. — A Park University professor who was detained by immigration officials last month is scheduled to be deported this week.
According to a Facebook page dedicated to trying to free Syed Jamal, the 55-year-old is set to be sent back to his home country of Bangladesh this Friday.
Jamal was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at his home in Lawrence in January. His wife and three children, who are now desperately hoping they’ll be able to see their husband and father again, 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.”
Carl Rusnok, ICE’s central region spokesperson, said due to security reasons, the agency doesn’t provide advance notification of its deportations schedules and therefore couldn’t confirm the date given in the Facebook post.
A lawyer representing Jamal filed paperwork asking for a stay in his case.
The Park University professor is an immigrant from Bangladesh who has lived in the U.S. for more than 30 years.
“To allow someone to stay here that long and then just suddenly take it away because you’re now going to decide to enforce strictly our immigration laws seems to be in opposition to humanitarian concerns,” said Jeffrey Y. Bennett, a Kansas City lawyer retained by the Jamal family. “You can’t let someone plant a seed here in the United States, and then pull out their roots once they’ve grown.”
But according to ICE, Jamal overstayed his visa twice and violated an order by a judge to leave the country.
The Facebook post says friends and family believe Jamal’s case “was not adjudicated correctly and the 2011 court case was legally flawed.”
“We have two days to do everything we can to stop this tragedy,” the post says.
The page is asking people to call Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins’ offices to request that she help Jamal by asking ICE officials to grant the stay in his case so his lawyer has time to review the case.
“Deporting a person when the order is not legally sound is a threat to the system,” the Facebook post says. “That is not what the American legal system stands for.”
Right now, Jamal is being held in custody at the adult detention center in Versailles, Missouri.
Jamal’s attorney said it’s possible that his wife could also eventually be deported. Right now, she remains in Lawrence and is taking care of the couple’s three children.
Hundreds in Lawrence started a letter writing campaign to support Syed. A Change.org online petition has garnered more than 28,000 signatures. Donations have been pouring in to a GoFundMe page set up to help the family with legal costs.