Syed Jamal speaks about lessons learned, complicated policies surrounding immigration case

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PARKVILLE, Mo. -- Immigration agents arrested Park University professor Syed Jamal outside of his home in Lawrence earlier this year. Now, he's sharing his story.

The legal battle over Jamal's immigration status continues, but for now, he's been granted a stay.

"In some cases, they fight tooth and nail, and in my case, they did," Jamal said.

On Tuesday, Jamal spoke at Park University about lessons learned, immigration policies and complicated regulations that surround his complicated case.

"The status is difficult to define, but since the case has reopened, there's no case right now. So basically they are looking at it, examining it with a stay,” Jamal said. “Since that order is gone, I'm pretty much back to where I was when I came before a court. So we will determine and see, but with the stay you are perfectly fine."

Jamal came to the United States from Bangladesh in the 1980s. His student visa lapsed in the '90s after conducting research and teaching at area colleges and universities.

He returned to Bangladesh and got married. Then he and his wife returned to the U.S. on a work visa. He said that visa eventually expired without his knowledge.

Jamal was allowed to stay in the U.S. with the condition that he report to ICE officials regularly, which he said he did until his arrest.

“It was like an emotional roller coaster,” Jamal said.

After his arrest, the Park University professor found himself in a legal battle over his immigration status and multiple jail transfers.

Students who listened to his story Tuesday said it was tough to hear.

“You just take it for granted being here. It’s your home. You don`t think anything else of it, and it’s kind of hard listening to somebody having to go through so much who's just trying to live a normal life like I am,” student Xavier McFadden said.

“I thought that a lot of it was unfair to him,” student KJ Courtney said.

Jamal said the whole experience has taken a toll on his family.

“You still worry in the back of your mind. The children probably are unsure what will happen to their dad or mom, so they're fearful,” he said.

For now, they wait for the government's next decision.

“The community helped. It made me feel important. It made me more popular. It brought a lot of media attention, and that was one of the reasons the stay was given,” Jamal said.

The Board of Immigration Appeals ruled in August that Jamal could have a full hearing on his arguments to stay in the country. The ruling came as Jamal was on a flight out of the country. Jamal said the date frequently changes but is supposed to be held early next year.

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