KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Three years and five months. That's how long metro professor Syed Jamal has until his next hearing for relief.
The Park University professor's family said a judge postponing his case is bittersweet. They have a few more years together without fear of their father and husband being taken away. But after that, his immigration status will be up in the air once again.
"I was optimistic. You could say there was some apprehensive talk, but I think I was still optimistic in the bottom of my heart," Syed Jamal said.
"It's both a relief and a hindrance. Now we know my dad is guaranteed at least four years, but we also don't know if he'll be here after that," Jamal’s son Taseen said.
Jamal appeared before a judge Tuesday afternoon for his first immigration hearing since an Immigration Appeals Board ruled to give him a new day in court.
"It's again up to a court to determine the strengths and weaknesses of his claims for relief in 2022,” said William Sharma-Crawford, Jamal’s attorney.
The judge postponed the hearing for Jamal, something both the Jamal family and their attorney said they anticipated. The next hearing will be in April 2022.
"For me, it's a bit worse because I'll be in college by then, and it depends on where I go if I'll have to fly back,” Taseen said.
"He's kicked it out far enough so that we have plenty of time, for both sides, to settle that particular issue," Sharma-Crawford added.
The particular issue Sharma-Crawford is referring to is about voluntary departure.
Jamal was arrested and nearly deported earlier this year for overstaying his visa.
"If an order granting voluntary departure isn't statutory and regulatory proper, then is the penalty that extends from that for not departing still proper as well?” Sharma-Crawford asked.
"There's an order of how they do things. There's a big line here, so it's OK. I can live with it,” Jamal said.
The metro professor will continue to check in with ICE as mandated.
"There's some uncertainty, unable to travel, but it's OK,” Jamal said. “It`s always good to be able to be with your family.”
Jamal's attorney said although they could get a decision from the court in 2022, either side could appeal if they aren't happy with the decision -- which could extend the case even further.