KANSAS CITY, Miss, March 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Am Law 100 firm Polsinelli is rallying behind a Kansas man who was abruptly arrested and detained while he was taking his daughter to school on Jan. 24, 2018. The firm is partnering with Syed Jamal’s immigration counsel, Rekha Sharma-Crawford, and has put its top litigators and public policy attorneys to work to help release Jamal from a detention facility and then obtain permanent resident status.
This pro bono effort by Polsinelli was spearheaded by Jamal’s Lawrence, Kan. neighbor Alan Claus Anderson, who is Vice Chair of Polsinelli’s Energy Practice Group. The Polsinelli team has deployed deep litigation experience and capitalized on the firm’s public policy strengths both locally and nationally in Washington, D.C. to support Jamal and his family of five, which includes his wife, Angela Zaynaub Chowdhury, sons Taseen (14) and Fareed (7) and daughter Naheen (12). Jamal’s arrest garnered local, regional and national attention when he was suddenly taken from his family and nearly deported to Bangladesh.
“Syed and his family have been longtime neighbors of my family, and his children are good friends with my children. He is an incredible father and husband, and is an asset to our community through his work as a college professor as a community volunteer,” Anderson said. “It is shameful to watch Angela and the children unnecessarily suffer as he currently sits in a detention facility when he could be released to his family while the legal process runs its course. We need more people like Syed in our community, and I am proud that Polsinelli has stepped forward to use its talents and resources to do the right thing for Syed and his family. We hope to reunite them very soon and to also secure a safe future for this incredible family that leaves no uncertainty.”
Polsinelli is proud to work with Sharma-Crawford and her nationally-known immigration firm. The Polsinelli team includes members from its highest ranks: Russell Jones, Chair of the firm’s Litigation Department; Bob Henderson, a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers; and, Alan Wheat, Chair of the firm’s Public Policy Practice Group. Several Polsinelli associates are also dedicated to this work.
Following his arrest on Jan. 24, this is what happened to Jamal:
- He was taken and held in a detention facility in Morgan, County, Mo., and then moved to Platte County, Mo. on Feb. 7.
- The following day, he was transported to a detention facility in El Paso, Tex. to be close to the airport that is used to deport people to Bangladesh. Jamal’s attorneys filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Declaratory Injunctive Relief with the Western District of Missouri Federal Court on Feb. 8 while Mr. Jamal was in El Paso.
- On Feb. 12, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) put Jamal on a plane destined for Bangladesh, with a fuel stop in Honolulu. Neither Jamal’s legal team nor his family were notified of this planned deportation until hours after the plane had taken off.
- Also on Feb. 12, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) granted an emergency appeal before the plane landed in Honolulu for a refueling stop. The BIA granted the stay quickly, and with the help of Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins and Missouri Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver, ICE confirmed to remove Jamal from the plane and redirect him back to the Midwest.
- On Feb. 13, Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver submitted a Private Bill to the U.S. House of Representatives that, if passed, would grant Jamal and his wife permanent status in the U.S.
- On Feb. 14, Mr. Jamal arrived back in a detention facility in Platte County, Missouri, where he remains to this day.
After five transfers since his initial detention, Jamal is currently being held in a detention facility in Platte County. He has only been able to see his family once each week for 30-minute periods through a barrier at the visitation center. His case is currently under review by the BIA and Federal Courts in Washington, D.C.; however, ICE and the Department of Homeland Security have the ability to release Jamal back to his home and family under a continued Order of Supervision. ICE has stated that it does not plan to permit his release.
“We must have our family’s story heard by the Board of Immigration Appeals and make it clear that Syed has taken every step to ensure he lives in America legally,” said Zaynaub Chowdhury, Jamal’s wife. “My husband escaped physical abuse and discrimination in Bangladesh as a young adult and came to America to learn, start a family and teach our young adults as a professor. He loves this country and has done everything possible to make sure this is his home. We cannot imagine our family without him, and we need the BIA’s attention to ensure we won’t lose him forever due to deportation.”
Polsinelli has confirmed that Jamal has a work authorization, a valid driver’s license and is currently employed. Given this, the legal team cannot understand why ICE has targeted Jamal or why it has moved so aggressively to remove him.
To add even more critical importance to the need for Jamal’s release, on March 2, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security filed a motion with the BIA asking it to lift the stay of removal and expedite Jamal’s appeal in a further attempt to rush Jamal’s legal review. Anderson noted, that “the continued unnecessary detention of Mr. Jamal hampers our efforts to represent him, and this attempt to expedite the BIA proceedings, while simultaneously impeding Mr. Jamal’s ability to effectively participate, is further evidence of the impropriety of his detention.”
A private bill submitted on Feb. 13 by Congresswoman Jenkins in conjunction with Congressman Cleaver before the U.S. House of Representatives would grant Jamal and his wife permanent status in the United States. The Polsinelli team is working around the clock to build support for the bill and keep the Jamal family together.
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