The U.S. government is determined to deport Lawrence scientist Syed Jamal back to his native Bangladesh, loaded onto a flight shackled and handcuffed.
Due process and the rule of law appear to be of lesser concern.
The Department of Homeland Security has asked the Board of Immigration Appeals to lift the stay that is keeping Jamal’s feet planted on U.S. soil, although in this case that means locked up at the Platte County jail at a cost to taxpayers of $169 a day. Now, the government wants his case expedited.
The goal appears to be to send him back to his native Bangladesh as fast as possible — even before he has the opportunity to plead his case at a March 20 hearing in the Western District of Missouri.
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The government’s March 2 motion argues that Jamal’s not likely to win his appeal. And, that it is the U.S. government, not Jamal, who will be “substantially” injured if the stay isn’t lifted because the public interest is in the finality of immigration proceedings.
Jamal, the government says, “will not be irreparably harmed.”
Essentially, the government’s stand is that being sent back to Bangladesh, ripped away from your wife and three children and stripped of ties to work and community that have been forged over 30 years is a trifling matter.
That’s not how Jamal’s case is viewed by the thousands of Americans who’ve been outraged by the effort to deport him. For many, his story has offered a peak at an immigration system that many assumed was orderly and fair. Instead, they’ve been shocked by the decision-making regarding immigrants and the cruelty in the system’s lack of regard for family.
Now, the well-liked chemist has the support of some of the top legal minds in the region. The law firm of Polsinelli is on board, offering three of its top litigators and additional staff pro bono.
Most immigrants do not have that kind of leverage. They live in fear of this system without legal counsel. But even high-end legal firepower might not make a difference for Jamal.
Polsinelli’s attorneys are helping with a private bill that has been introduced in Congress by U.S. Reps. Lynn Jenkins and Emanuel Cleaver. But the Trump administration notified Congress last year that such pleas would no longer halt deportations until the bills could be addressed or allowed to die without a vote.
Rekha Sharma-Crawford, the attorney handling the bulk of the immigration work in Jamal’s case, filed a response to the government’s motion with the Board of Immigration Appeals Friday. The fear is that the board will make a decision and Sharma-Crawford will not be notified in time to make a legal counter move.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement included an additional rationale in its request to swiftly deport Jamal. His travel documents might expire.
“This isn’t who we are as a nation, Sharma-Crawford said. “The preservation of the rule of law and the preservation of due process both are under attack here.”
Indeed, if the government succeeds in quickly deporting the Kansas chemist, both Jamal and our faith in due process could be “irreparably harmed.”