Bangladeshi-origin chemistry teacher, Syed Ahmed Jamal’s life has faced major ups and downs over the last few weeks since he was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents Jan. 24, after being taken from his Lawrence, Kansas home.
In the latest twist, Jamal is sitting in Honolulu, according to his attorney Rekha Sharma-Crawford, who conveyed the information to Desi Talk through her assistant.
Jamal was on a plane bound for Dacca Feb. 12, when an American judge issued a second stay on the evening of the same day, the Associated Press reported. Hundreds of supporters of Jamal and his family which includes 3 children who are citizens, have rallied behind the Kansas chemist who was offloaded at the refueling stopover in Hawaii. But when he will be returned to the mainland is not known.
“There are still no updates on the Jamal case,” Sharma-Crawford said in a statement to Desi Talk. “He is still in Honolulu. We will be posting updates on our Facebook page as they happen,” Sharma-Crawford conveyed through her assistant. A petition on Change.org, “Help to stop the deportation of Syed Ahmed Jamal,” started by a family friend, Marci Leuschen, has now garnered 97,028 signatures, by Feb. 13 afternoon. There is also a GoFundMe page for Jamal started by Leuschen, which has so far raised $67,979 and hopes to reach its goal of $75,000.
On Feb. 12, when a federal immigration judge removed the temporary stay order issued a week ago, Sharma-Crawford, immediately filed a new motion for a stay with the Virginia Board of Immigration Appeals, Associated Press reported. That court issued a stay while Jamal was on the plane.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, went to meet Jamal when he was detained at the El Paso, Texas, over last weekend after being flooded with calls expressing concern over the fate of the Bangladeshi immigrant, Associated Press reported. Sharma-Crawford’s Facebook page is carrying a photo of Jamal speaking to the Congressman from behind a glass panel while incarcerated.
On Feb. 8, Cleaver issued a statement that he had written to the Assistant Director of ICE “encouraging him to exercise favorable discretion and grant a stay of deportation” for Jamal. Cleaver has been an advocate for a clear and permanent pathway to citizenship and is opposed to funding for a border wall. Associated Press reported the Congressman said he is planning to introduce legislation that could deal with cases like that of Jamal.
The Bangladeshi chemistry instructor came to this country on a student visa more than 30 years ago, getting degrees in molecular biosciences and pharmaceutical engineering, and settling in Lawrence with family. At some point he switched from a student visa to an H-1B visa and then back to a student visa when he enrolled for a Ph.D., according to a Washington Post report. When he was arrested, Jamal was on a temporary work permit, teaching chemistry as an adjunct professor at Park University in Kansas City, the Post reported.