Family says Kansas chemistry professor granted stay after arrest - KCTV5 News

Family says Kansas chemistry professor granted stay after arrest by ICE agents

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Syed Ahmed Jamal was arrested in his front yard in Lawrence, Kansas, on Jan. 24 as he walked his seventh-grade daughter to school. (Change.org) Syed Ahmed Jamal was arrested in his front yard in Lawrence, Kansas, on Jan. 24 as he walked his seventh-grade daughter to school. (Change.org)
Jamal and his family have lived in the United States for nearly 30 years without any problems. (Jamal family) Jamal and his family have lived in the United States for nearly 30 years without any problems. (Jamal family)
LAWRENCE, KS (KCTV/AP) -

The family of a Kansas chemistry instructor and father of three say he has been granted a stay after he was arrested by immigration agents in January. 

Syed Ahmed Jamal will not be deported. There is no word yet on when he will be released.

Jamal was arrested in his front yard in Lawrence on Jan. 24 as he walked his seventh-grade daughter to school.

The 55-year-old Jamal, who is from Bangladesh, arrived in the United States in 1987 on a student visa to study at the University of Kansas. Most recently, he was teaching at Park University.

Jamal and his family have lived in the United States for nearly 30 years without any problems.

His family and friends worked around the clock to try and get the judge to grant him a stay. Their hard work paid off on Thursday. 

There were a lot of tears and a lot of relief when they found out.

The family is now trying to figure out when he will be able to come home. The 10-day stay was issued last night, but he was on a plane to El Paso this morning. That was frustrating for the family, but they knew he wouldn't be leaving the country. That was what they wanted; a chance to fight in court.

He will now be able to take his case to court and hopes to stay in the U.S. for good. 

“The judges have given the department 10 days to respond, so it could be a few weeks before we hear anything," said attorney Rekha Sharma-Crawford at a news conference on Thursday. 

The attorney said taht the merits of the motion will be reviewed by the judge once the Department of Homeland Security responds. 

His son, Taseen Jamal, said he just can't wait to see his father again. “Definitely give him a hug," he said. "I’m going to try not to cry, probably.” 

“I just want him to know we’re trying staying strong and we're doing everything we can to get him," he said.

His brother, Syed H. Jamal, said, “We are very, very happy with this and it's definitely wonderful and the right things to do and it gives me a lot of hope.” "The community support is unbelievable," he said.

His wife said that she wanted people to know that they are strong. 

The family said that they don't blame anyone; they just blame the immigration policies. 

On Thursday, Jamal’s supporters are organizing a walk with the hope that his case gets in front of a judge, saying he is an upstanding citizen and caring father who should not be deported.

Organizers do not know how many people will attend the walk but say a recent letter-writing event brought in nearly 500 people. They hope to bring awareness to what happened and show their support.

“He needs to have his case heard. ICE has said that they are prioritizing criminals, yet Syed Jamal is an upstanding citizen and caring father,” organizers said in a written statement about the event.

It was planned before the stay was granted, but will now be a celebratory walk as well. 

The walk begins at 4 p.m. and organizers will meet at the Lawrence Creates Makerspace, located at 512 E Ninth Street in Lawrence, KS.

A phone bank is also scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver released a statement as well: 

“Although Mr. Jamal does not live in my district, I received many calls from my constituents asking for my help. I could not sit by and watch a deserving father and husband and a contributing member of this society be torn away from his family and ripped from this country. The situation became dire and Mr. Jamal had only days to be deported. There were compelling humanitarian reasons why this case should go before a judge and I believe it was my ethical and moral responsibility to speak up for him. I’m glad to see that the courts have listened and decided not to deport Mr. Syed."

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Jamal's lawyer, Jeffrey Bennett, says an immigration judge allowed Jamal to remain in the country on a supervised basis provided he checked in regularly.

"He was granted prosecutorial discretion on an indefinite basis, but that can be taken away at any time and that has happened just recently," Bennett told the news station. 

President Donald Trump has toughened immigration enforcement. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say Jamal lost an appeal of a removal order four years ago.

During a demonstration on Saturday, dozens of Jamal's supporters wrote letters to the immigration judge handling his case to emphasize his work in the community and his love for his family. Parents who are pleading for his release said the professor coached youth sports and even ran for the school board a year ago.

"We need people like Syed in our community," said Susan Baker Anderson, who organized the event. "I really think this is one where Syed needs to come home."

Anderson also helped start a petition on Change.org in support of Jamal, urging ICE to grant him a stay of removal. As of Thursday, it's garnered more than 53,300 signatures.

Jamal's 14-year-old son, Taseen, said in a statement posted on the petition's website, that he and his siblings will be devasted if their father is deported.

"My little brother cries every night, my sister can't focus in school, and I cannot sleep at night..."

"If my father is deported, my siblings and I may never get to see him again. He is an older man, and due to the conditions of his home country, he might not be able to survive."

Jamal's case now rests in the hands of Department of Homeland Security. His lawyer wrote a letter to the agency on Feb. 2 to request a temporary stay of removal so Jamal could file a court motion to have his immigration case reopened. 

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page is raising money for his family and legal costs. As of Thursday, it has raised more than $34,000.

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