Teacher’s de­por­ta­tion post­poned mid-flight

Syed Ah­mad Ja­mal, a US chem­istry teacher, was taken off the flight dur­ing a lay­over in Hawaii

Gulf News - - Americas -

The fate of a for­eign-born teacher was in limbo Tues­day af­ter his de­por­ta­tion from the United States was tem­po­rar­ily stopped while his flight was en route to his na­tive Bangladesh.

Syed Ah­mad Ja­mal, a chem­istry teacher based in Lawrence, Kansas, was taken off the flight dur­ing a lay­over in Hawaii — the re­sult of a dizzy­ing chain of events that cul­mi­nated in a last-minute stay of his de­por­ta­tion.

“Syed is still in the Honolulu Fed­eral De­ten­tion Cen­tre,” Ja­mal’s at­tor­ney Rekha Shar­maCraw­ford said Tues­day.

A fa­ther of three US cit­i­zen chil­dren and a beloved mem­ber of his com­mu­nity, Ja­mal’s case has led to a mas­sive out­pour­ing of sup­port from friends, neigh­bours and crit­ics of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies.

Ja­mal, 55, has lived in the United States for 30 years, over­stay­ing his se­cond visa in 2011. With­out a rel­a­tively speedy path to cit­i­zen­ship, he had been granted a com­mon­lyem­ployed ad­min­is­tra­tive de­lay that al­lowed him to re­main in the coun­try and legally work. But im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties could de­port him at any time.

He sud­denly was ar­rested three weeks ago while tak­ing his daugh­ter to school.

An im­mi­gra­tion judge is­sued a stay of his de­por­ta­tion last week, but lifted the or­der Mon­day. In re­sponse, im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties put Ja­mal on a flight to Bangladesh.

Then, an im­mi­gra­tion ap­peals court granted an­other stay mid-flight, and Ja­mal was kept on US soil dur­ing a lay­over in Hawaii.

“We are await­ing an up­date from his case worker on what the de­ci­sion is with the new stay in place, if he will be moved or not and, if so, where,” Sharma-Craw­ford said.

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