PLATTE CITY, Mo. -- Lawrence chemist and Park University professor Syed Jamal, who’s been at the center of a deportation case that’s received national attention, is out of jail. Jamal walked out of the doors of the Platte County jail on Tuesday afternoon just after 2 p.m. He was carrying only a small bag of belongings, some books, and a big big smile on his face of relief.
“Just being away from the family and the community and my friends. It sure is a great feeling,” said Jamal.
He hugged his wife and three young children for the first time on Tuesday afternoon since he was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Jan. 24. Jamal, who is from Bangladesh, had been incarcerated ever since; first in Morgan County, Mo., then in Texas, then to Hawaii, and finally at the Platte County jail. Jamal, 55, had been in the United States for more than 30 years when ICE came and arrested him for twice overstaying his visa.
“I'm really happy that we're going to see him and give him a hug and everything,” said Jamal’s seventh grade daughter Naheen Jamal.
“I can touch him, I can talk to him. My kids, they are happy,” added Jamal’s wife Angela.
On Tuesday afternoon, a U.S. district court judge in Kansas City ruled to release Jamal from prison pending his deportation case.
“In prison, you hardly have any individuality or your identity pretty much, so you feel like you are your own person again, that freedom. Yeah, it feels much better,” said Jamal.
He spending the past few months away from his family have been indescribably hard.
“I noticed some changes in me, the first few weeks I was crying when I thought about him and you, it’s something inside you, you harden you know. because you react to it, you adapt,” said Jamal.
In addition to being away from family, Jamal says one of the hardest parts was being disconnected from current events and the outside world since they weren’t allowed
“I asked them, what’s going on with the news? What’s going on in the country? That was the tough part for me to be almost disconnected from outside news,” said Jamal.
He’s got a lot of catching up to do with his wife and kids, but the fight isn’t over.
“Now that I am free, I’m going to spend time with them. Children, they wonder why these things happen and they’re resilient,” he added.
Jamal said the first thing he plans to do when he gets home is eat a good home-cooked meal.
He said he will go back to teaching and resume work on two extensive research projects that were put on hold after his arrest. Jamal said he hopes to finally apply for citizenship.