A Bangladeshi chemistry teacher, who was detained by immigration officials two weeks ago, has been granted a temporary stay of deportation, his attorney said Thursday.
Syed Ahmed Jamal was handcuffed and taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in his Lawrence, Kansas, front yard in front of his stunned children on January 24. He had been living in the United States for 30 years.
Jamal and his family were awaiting a decision on the recent stay of removal request sent to ICE on February 2. Federal immigration Judge Glen R. Baker granted the temporary stay on Wednesday, said Jamal’s attorney Rekha Sharma-Crawford.
“The government is staging for removal, however this morning when we called immigration court to inquire where our motion for stay (filed Monday) was, we were informed that as of yesterday, unbeknownst to us, a federal immigration judge had granted a temporary reprieve, Sharma-Crawford said.
The judge has given 10 days for the government to respond, Sharma-Crawford said.
“This is a temporary stay so the fight continues. We still have to get him home and get him to be free,” said Jamal’s brother, Syed Hussain Jamal.
Syed Ahmed Jamal’s wife, Angela Zaynaub Chowdhury, said she can’t sleep, worrying about her husband.
“I wake up every night. He’s not there,” she said.
Her husband is being held in a detention facility in Sierra Blanca, Texas, according to Sharma-Crawford’s office.
“We were just about to drive off to school when an ICE officer came and tapped on the window. … They said they were looking for Syed Jamal to arrest him,” the professor’s 12-year-old daughter, Naheem Jamal, told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Thursday.
“I had heard that things like this were going around in America. But I didn’t really think it would happen to us,” she added.
The professor’s 14-year-old son, Taseen Jamal, said he spoke to his father on Wednesday.
“He was very uncertain of the future and he wanted to know what would become of us if he was sent. And he told us to stay strong no matter what happened and that in a way he would always be here.”
Taseen Jamal said he wanted President Donald Trump to know that “he shouldn’t be taking people who have done nothing wrong.”
“No one really deserves to lose a family member like this, especially if it’s wrongfully done. And it’s going to be very bad if he’s taken. And I don’t know what my family and I are going to do.”
Syed Ahmed Jamal, 55, first came to the United States from Bangladesh in 1987, according to his brother. ICE said Jamal entered the United States legally in July 1998 on a temporary nonimmigrant visa. During his time in the United States, he worked in the chemistry department in several colleges and universities, including Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, where he was an adjunct faculty member from August 2013 through December 2015 and where he also earned a bachelor’s degree in 1997, according to the university.
In January, Jamal began teaching at Park University in Parkville, Missouri, as an adjunct instructor of chemistry, and taught the laboratory for advanced inorganic chemistry. He had been to the weekly class twice before his arrest.
At the time of his detainment, he had overstayed a voluntary departure notice, but had been granted permission to stay in the United States under supervision.
Asked why ICE would target him now, his brother explained that “since 2017, the rules have changed a little bit.”
“Nowadays what they are working with is the Kelly Memoranda. It does not distinguish between low priority, high priority, criminals or noncriminals, however you want to look at it. Anybody who has a deportation order they are rounding them up whether it’s low priority or not … it’s very sad.”