On CNN, family of chemistry professor detained by ICE explains how losing him would hurt them
Family explains he has no criminal record
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From the February 8 edition of CNN's New Day with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota:
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ALISYN CAMEROTA (CO-HOST): A Bangladeshi professor living in Kansas for 30 years is facing deportation as early as tomorrow. Syed Ahmed Jamal, a father of three, was detained by immigration agents two weeks ago. He originally entered the U.S. lawfully on a student visa and later obtained many work visas to stay. At the time of his arrest, Jamal had overstayed a voluntary departure notice. So why was he arrested? Two of Jamal’s children join us now, we have 14-year-old Taseen and 12-year-old Naheen Jamal. And the children are joined by their uncle, Syed Hussain Jamal. Thank you all for being here. Naheen, I want to start with you, because your dad was about to take you to school two weeks ago when ICE agents came and arrested him. So tell us what happened that morning.
NAHEEN JAMAL (SYED AHMED JAMAL’S DAUGHTER): So my dad was just about to back out and we were just about to drive off to school when an ICE officer came and like tapped on the window. So he rolled it down and then he asked them what -- who they were there for. And they said they were looking for the arrest of Syed Jamal like to deport him.
CAMEROTA: And was that a huge surprise to your family?
NAHEEN: Yeah. Well, I'd heard that things like this was going around like [in] America. But I didn't really think it would happen to us.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. Naheen, I know you’ve spoke to your dad. Your dad has been in jail now for two weeks.
CAMEROTA: He is a chemistry professor.
CAMEROTA: He's obviously been, according to you all, extending his visas legally. So Taseen, tell us what happened when you spoke to your dad yesterday. What did he say?
TASEEN JAMAL (SYED AHMED JAMAL’S SON): So, yeah, when I spoke to my dad yesterday, 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.
CAMEROTA: Syed, your brother entered the country legally, as we understand it, on an international student visa in the 1980s. He had no criminal record. He [has] a couple of speeding tickets, you all say. He had an H1B visa for highly skilled workers. He had been granted to the stay in the U.S. under supervision. Do you have any idea why ICE agents have focused on him?
SYED HUSSAIN JAMAL (SYED AHMED JAMAL’S BROTHER): Well, since 2017, the rules have changed a little bit. Because he was considered a low priority individual under the Morton memo. So he was [INAUDIBLE] supervision program. And starting -- the Morton memo is no longer valid, as you know. Nowadays there is -- what they're working with is what’s called Kelly memorandum. So the Kelly memorandum does not distinguish between low priority or high priority, or criminals or noncriminals, however you want to look at it. So that's -- now, anybody who has a deportation order, they are rounding them up whether it's low priority or not. So that's what -- so they're saying basically he has a deportation order regardless of whether it's low priority or not. That’s why they took him.
CAMEROTA: Naheen, President Trump has said in the past, "What we're going to do is get rid of all the people who are criminals, who have criminal records, who are gang members, who are drug dealers. That's who we're going to get rid of." Your dad is not a gang member, he’s not a drug dealer. He's a college professor.
CAMEROTA: What do you want to tell the president?
NAHEEN: That he shouldn't be taking people who've done nothing wrong.
CAMEROTA: And what happens, Taseen, tomorrow, if your dad is deported?
TASEEN: Well, obviously there's going to be a lot of sadness, as you know. 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.