Federal judge orders Lawrence dad fighting deportation to be fre - KCTV5

Federal judge orders Lawrence dad fighting deportation to be freed

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U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark ordered the release of Syed Ahmed Jamal, 55, after a hearing in Kansas City, MO. (KCTV5) U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark ordered the release of Syed Ahmed Jamal, 55, after a hearing in Kansas City, MO. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) -

A federal judge on Tuesday freed a Kansas father fighting efforts by the U.S. to deport him to Bangladesh pending the outcome of his case.

U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark ordered the release of Syed Ahmed Jamal, 55, after a hearing in Kansas City, MO. He was being held in the jail in Platte County and did not attend the hearing.

The ruling does not keep Jamal from being deported. His attorney, Rehka Sharma-Crawford, acknowledged that he faces difficulties in staying in the U.S. But she said she was thankful for the judge's ruling.

Jamal and his supporters have been battling his deportation since Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested him in January at his family's home in Lawrence. His three children are U.S. citizens.

"I made a promise to those kids to bring their dad home," Sharma-Crawford said.

Jamal entered the U.S. legally in 1987 to attend the University of Kansas but twice overstayed his visa. He was ordered deported in 2011 but had been allowed to stay in the U.S. and check in regularly with immigration authorities. He has worked as an adjunct professor and researcher at Kansas City-area colleges.

U.S. immigration officials put Jamal on a plane bound for his native country last month before an immigration panel granted a temporary stay in the case. Jamal was taken off the flight when it stopped to refuel in Honolulu.

At the Platte County jail, Jamal has been cut off from his family except for Sunday visits behind glass. His possible deportation had prompted a backlash, with a protest march in Lawrence and more than 90,000 people signing a petition supporting him.

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Missouri whose office was flooded with calls about the case, took up Jamal's cause. And Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Republican whose eastern Kansas district includes Lawrence, backed Jamal's efforts to have his immigration case reopened, and filed legislation to allow Jamal and his wife to stay in the U.S.

Cleaver released the following statement:

“I am pleased to hear that Mr. Syed Jamal will be able to spend some much needed time with his wife and children but this is far from over. A federal judge released Mr. Jamal from a Missouri County detention center today but he still faces deportation. The current immigration system is broken and affects families who have responsibilities and deep ties to their communities. We must fix these laws that criminalize hard-working, contributing members of society like Mr. Syed Jamal and that’s what I plan to push for in Congress.”

Jenkins released the following statement:

“Over the past 30 years, Syed Jamal has been living, learning, working, paying taxes, and ultimately raising three all-star American born kids with his wife Angela right here in Kansas. With limited resources and violent, criminal illegal immigrants still in our country, the fact that our government would prioritize resources to attempt to deport Syed is offensive to our common sense and a fiscally reckless use of taxpayer dollars. Syed is the type of immigrant our nation always has and should continue to welcome, exactly the type of immigrant this "nation of immigrants" was built by.”

Shortly after taking office last year, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that widened the categories of immigrants in the U.S. illegally who could face deportation. ICE has detained or deported people who had received reprieves from the agency during the Obama administration, which prioritized deporting violent, criminal immigrants.

The government argued unsuccessfully Tuesday that the federal court had no jurisdiction over Jamal's detention.

More than 100 supporters packed Ketchmark's courtroom, overflowing into a nearby one where a video feed of the proceedings was shown. Her courtroom erupted in applause shortly after she left the bench.

"I have so many people to thank, the whole community," Jamal's wife, Angela Zaynaub Chowdhury, said after the hearing.

Previous coverage:

Family, friends rally around Syed Jamal during Tuesday court hearing

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

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