Syed Ahmed Jamal, who was facing deportation to Bangladesh, could be freed soon based on the orders of a federal judge, the Associated Press reported. Jamal, who lives in Lawrence, Kansas, and teaches chemistry at local colleges in Kansas, was taken from his home Jan. 24, by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on grounds that he had overstayed his visa in the past.
U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark on March 21, however, ordered the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to release Jamal, 55, who has been housed in a jail in Platte County, Missouri, 25 miles south of where the hearing took place in Kansas City, Missouri.
However, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency spokesman Shawn Neudauer told Associate Press in an email “that the agency is complying with the judge’s order although Jamal still faces a deportation order issued by an immigration judge.” Jamal’s fate rests with the federal Board of Immigration Appeals and if BIA rules against Jamal’s release, Neudauer told Associated Press, “ICE will carry out the removal order.”
The Kansas City Star reported March 9, that the law firm Polsinelli had offered to help Jamal pro bono, to get him out of jail while the legal process unfolds, to spend time with his family. Polsinelli will help Jamal’s existing Indian-American lawyer Rekha Sharma-Crawford.The Kansas City Star is carrying an emotional video of the visit to the Platte County prison by Jamal’s family.
Sharma-Crawford’s website has updates on the case. A month ago, Feb. 18, it reported that the attorney had gone with the family to visit Jamal and the difficulties encountered.
“We headed up for Syed’s family to visit him, at the scheduled time today. Even though we called three times prior to that, to ensure we could make this happen, no one ever told us they had to be there 30 minutes prior. So unfortunately, this is as close as they got,” the site says accompanied by a photo of Syed looking through a window at his wife and children standing several feet away. “And that took an hour of negotiating, to get to this point, which was for Rekha being his lawyer to go in for a visit and put him in the closest room possible,” the website said. Sharma-Crawford has argued that Jamal, who is the sole breadwinner for the family, has a valid work authorization and a job. But she conceded to The Kansas City Star that Jamal faces difficulties in staying in this country, Associated Press reported.
The local community in Lawrence, as well as some lawmakers have come to Jamal’s assistance.
“I have so many people to thank, the whole community,” Jamal’s wife, Angela Zaynaub Chowdhury, is quoted saying in the Associated Press report, after the latest ruling by Judge Ketchmark.