BANGLADESHI-American, MUSLIM PROFESSOR from LAWRENCE, KANSAS
Syed Ahmed Jamal is a 55 year-old father of three and a beloved member of the community in Lawrence, Kansas. Born in Bangladesh, Syed came to the U.S. on a student visa to attain his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Molecular Biology, eventually becoming an adjunct chemistry professor at a local University. He has lived in this country for over 30 years, and he and his wife Angela have three U.S.-born children: Taseen, Naheen, and Fareed.
On January 24, 2018, Syed was getting his kids ready for school when ICE agents showed up at his house. Before he could even say goodbye to his wife and children, the agents arrested him on the front lawn and led him away in handcuffs. His family was shocked and terrified as he was threatened with deportation to Bangladesh.
The community of Lawrence immediately sprung into action, launching online campaigns to collect signatures for his release and raise money for the family’s needs. Syed is the sole breadwinner and the family had no idea how long he would be gone - or if he would even come back. In fact, a few weeks after his arrest, Syed was aboard an ICE flight that was to deport him to Bangladesh when the Board of Immigration Appeals stayed his deportation.
Through relentless community and bipartisan advocacy, including a bill co-sponsored by the Democratic and Republican U.S. Representatives of his district, Syed Jamal was released on March 20th, after 8 weeks in detention. His case is not over, but the threat of deportation is no longer imminent and he is back with his family and community.