At about 3:10 p.m. Tuesday, Syed Jamal was talking with reporters as his family arrived in the parking lot of Platte County jail.
He grabbed his orange mesh bag of clothing and an armload of books and jogged over to them.
His younger son Fareed was the first to run up to him and hug him around the waist.
Daughter Naheen was next. And in a moment all five family members, including wife Angela Zaynaub Chowdhury, were in a singular embrace.
Jamal's release came hours it was ordered by a U.S. District Court judge in Kansas City, pending the outcome of his deportation case with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Jamal said he believed his work permit was still valid and he was looking forward to continuing some of the research projects that he had been working on before his arrest by ICE on Jan. 24. Tuesday was the first time his family was able to embrace him since his detainment, which at one point, took him to Hawaii.
While talking with reporters in the cold, wearing a charcoal peacoat, Jamal said he hadn't entirely grasped how global his story had become as he had no access to a newspaper and his television time was limited.
He said he thought Congress needs to change immigration laws.
He avoided predicting how his case would end but recognized that any time one violation occurs, it can have lasting effects on an immigrant's status.
"If a court is not in your favor once, it becomes very difficult to set things right in adjusting your status.
"And then," he said, snapping his fingers, "the status is gone."
His brother Syed Hussein Jamal, who has been vigilant in helping build support around his older brother, said that while much more is left to do, "at least we have some breathing room now."