KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Calls to free a Park University professor who is facing deportation continue to grow strong.
U.S Representative Emanuel Cleaver II was one of several community leaders and activist calling for the release of Syed Jamal.
“We can win this thing,” Cleaver shouted to a crowd of about 100 people. “Why? Because we are right! This is right.”
The rally was held a day after Cleaver visited Jamal at a detention center in Texas.
“He, of course, is wanting to be home with his family but otherwise is well,” said Cleaver.
Immigration Customs and Enforcement claims Jamal overstayed his visa twice; the married father of three has been in the U.S. for 30 years.
“Only a heartless person could say, ‘I don’t think this is something I want to be involved with,’” said Cleaver. "Mr. Jamal’s only crime has been him being a model citizen."
Congressman Cleaver plans to introduce a private bill specifically for Jamal early this week.
“It will simply create an opportunity for a stay for Mr. Jamal until we are able to get this resolved in the immigration court,” said Cleaver.
Cleaver said Jamal’s story is one of thousands happening around the country and called on the Department of Homeland Security to prioritize the people they go after.
“We have three judges around here and probably 30-40,000 cases,” said Cleaver. “We’re not even trying to seriously deal with the issues in the courts. The whole immigration process in our country needs to be overhauled and this is the time to do it.”
Family members of other people facing immigration issues, locally, also shared their experiences with the crowd.
Jamal’s brother, Hassan Jamal, said the support from the community has been overwhelming.
“Now, I’m getting why my brother never wanted to leave Kansas,” said Hassan Jamal. “The beauty of today is that it’s not about parties—not about Republicans and Democrats—it was humanity. That’s beautiful.”