“A home is not a home without a father,” is a line pulled from a lengthy letter from Taseen, Naheen, and Fareed Jamal of Lawrence, Kansas. After learning their father, friend, and teacher would be forced to leave their city and return to Bangladesh, members of this Kansas community gathered and started a GoFundMe alongside a Change.org petition in efforts to deflect possible deportation.
Syed Ahmed Jamal is a beloved chemistry teacher who’s built a hefty rapport with his neighbors and students alike. Jamal is known for volunteering in classrooms and his activity as a leader at Lawrence Islamic Center. Of the 50,000 signatures the family hopes to get, only 4,000 remain, and they are less than $500 short of their $30,000 goal.
After his arrest on January 24th, Jamal’s family has recruited the aid of all those that could contribute to his pardon in the form of a letter or a donation.
“We had 347 notarized letters on Saturday, about 50 more since. The kids were making buttons. ‘Help Syed.’ ‘Save Syed.’ ‘We love Syed,'” a neighbor, Susan Anderson, told CNN.
According to the ICE, Jamal, 55, has only ever entered the US legally. He did so for the first time in 1987. However, he has entered the US on a non-immigrant visa three times and has overstayed each time, making his a special case. Each time, Jamal has filed a stay of removal request, evading detention. His last visa expired on October 6, 2011. But Jamal failed to leave the US and his voluntary departure order became an order of deportation, CNN reports.
Jamal was first taken into ICE’s custody in September of 2012 and released on an order of supervision. But the Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed his final request on My 21, 2013. Late last month, he was put in handcuffs on his front lawn without any immediate warning. He prepared his children for school early in the morning and was taken in shortly after. The family sent a new stay of removal case on February 2 and are now awaiting a response.
While Jamal’s children are citizens, his wife is not. Mrs. Jamal may be subject to the same fate according to his attorney, Jeffrey Y. Bennet.