Washington to debate immigration as metro family continues fight for father's freedom

An immigration debate has been brewing for months in Washington D.C. and will take center stage on Monday, with one m...

Posted: Feb 12, 2018 5:05 PM
Updated: Feb 12, 2018 5:05 PM

An immigration debate has been brewing for months in Washington D.C. and will take center stage on Monday, with one metro family paying close attention.

Syed Jamal, a metro educator, teacher, and father who spent 30 years in the U.S., was taken into custody by immigration officials on Jan. 24.

ICE took Jamal into custody in his yard in Lawrence, KS, as he was getting ready to take his children to school.

Jamal's family has been fighting to keep the chemistry professor from being deported. But, it's United State Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver, of Missouri, who plans to introduce a private bill that can help him.

The Democrat representative flew to Texas Saturday with Jamal's attorney to check on his well-being. He brought with him a picture, drawn by Jamal's youngest son. It said: "I miss my dad."

Cleaver says he is proposing a private bill that would essentially extend Jamal's stay until his status is sorted out in the courts. He hopes the bill will issue a stay in Jamal's trial to allow courts to sort out his case.

In Washington, A GOP proposal will offer a number of changes to laws that would make it easier to deport and detain immigrants.

On Monday, the Senate will begin a rare, open-ended debate on immigration and the fate of the "Dreamer" immigrants, and Republican senators say they'll introduce President Donald Trump's plan.

The president says he would like to scale back family-based immigration, end the diversity lottery and give federal authorities for deportation and detention powers.

Jamal's brother says Syed was being allowed to work when he was arrested.

"A lot of people think he's illegal, which is untrue," Syed Hussein Jamal said. "He was working here legally, held a work permit that was still valid."

Cleaver says supporting this family is the right thing to do.

"He is doing what we want every citizen to do. His family loves him, his neighbors love him. We ought to want him to be here in the United States of America," Cleaver said. "I think this is the right thing to do and the people supporting this family are doing the right thing."

Jamal is originally from Bangladesh and his attorney said he overstayed a voluntary departure notice in 2011, but that the government allowed him to stay in the U.S. under supervision.

He is currently being detained in the El Paso Detention Facility, where he will remain until a decision on his motion is made.

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