More than six months after a heart-wrenching saga that saw him arrested by immigration agents on his own front lawn and nearly deported until a judge ordered him off a plane, there is hope on the horizon for Kansas dad Syed Ahmed Jamal.
Jamal, who was finally released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody in March, will get his full day in court, an immigration appeals board ruled. “The board’s decision allows Jamal, a married father of three U.S.-born children, the opportunity to a full hearing on his arguments to stay in the country,” The Kansas City Star reported.
It’s an encouraging development for the college teacher, who had been considered low priority for deportation under ICE guidelines—until Donald Trump became president. Just weeks into the new year, Jamal was arrested by ICE as he was taking his young daughter to school, despite having no criminal record and three decades in the U.S.
Jamal would get shuffled to five different facilities before, “without his lawyers’ knowledge,” getting thrown onto a plane for deportation. In Hawaii, he was turned around and returned to Missouri. It was nearly a month after he was first arrested, and his family hoped to be able to hug him. But apparently unaware that jail rules required them to arrive a half-hour early for the meeting, they only got to wave to him through a window.
Jamal was finally freed from detention in late March, and by that time, his story—thanks to the efforts of his family and advocates—had garnered national attention as an example of the cruel senselessness of Trump’s mass deportation dragnet. “I can take the kids to the park and play soccer with them, maybe some basketball,” Jamal said about his children following his release. “These little things are what makes life worthwhile.”
Jamal deserves a lifetime of little things with his kids here, where he belongs. As he waits for his chance to be able to fight in court for an opportunity to stay here permanently, he’ll be able to keep teaching and providing for his family. “It’s a win, clearly” said his attorney, Rekha Sharma-Crawford. “His removal is no longer imminent.” The dad added that “previously, I’ve said I have full faith in the judicial system ... and this has shown to be true.”