'We are the children of Syed Ahmed Jamal, and we are requesting on behalf of our family for your kind help to get back our father." So wrote one of the Lawrence, Kansas, man's three kids—two of whom watched as their father was arrested as he was about to take his daughter to school on Jan. 24. The 55-year-old Bangladesh native was taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, and in reporting on his case, the Washington Post sees it as "the latest example of ICE agents abruptly targeting noncitizens with no criminal record who have, in the past, been allowed to stay in the country because they were seen as contributing positively to society." Some 500 members of the community came out to detail Jamal's positive contributions to their city in notarized letters they hope a federal immigration judge will consider.
Jamal, an adjunct chemistry professor at a Kansas City university, arrived in the US 30 years ago on a student visa and has throughout the years been here on H-1B visas and temporary work permits. In 2011 he was given a "voluntary departure" order. The Post reports a judge in 2012 allowed him to just continue checking in with ICE officials as a way of keeping the work permit active, but a statement from ICE picked up by Fox 4 states "Jamal violated the judge's  order and failed to depart the United States, and the voluntary departure order instead became a final order of removal." Now, he sits in a Missouri jail, and the immigration lawyer working on his case says "these stay of removal applications are rarely, rarely ever approved." The Kansas City Star reports on the fears that his deportation could lead to his death due to his family being part of an ethnic minority in Bangladesh. (Read more Immigration and Customs Enforcement stories.)