Bill calls for Syed Jamal, wife to become permanent residents

Posted at 7:34 PM, Feb 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-14 20:34:51-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas) introduced a “private bill” on Wednesday that would allow both Syed Jamal and his wife to become permanent U.S. residents.

The bill comes after a tumultuous week for the Jamal family.

On Monday, the chemist and father of three children was granted a second stay of removal while being deported back to Bangladesh.

The deportation order came after Jamal overstayed a visa in 2011.

The bill released on Wednesday formally calls for Jamal and his wife to obtain permanent resident status.

The proposal received support from Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), who also helped formalize the bill. 

“I think most of the people here recognize that Mr. Jamal is an ideal citizen in our community,” he said in a phone conversation with 41 Action News from Washington, D.C. “I know that our immigration system is completely broken. This provided me with an opportunity to help get a face in the immigration discussion."

While some in the immigration law community applauded the move, an attorney said it didn’t go far enough, with only Jamal and his wife being directly impacted by it.

“I applaud the lawmakers for taking that step but really it's not enough. We need a comprehensive solution for all families,” explained immigration attorney Jessica Piedra. “It's a testament to Mr. Jamal as an exceptional person. He also had friends that had enough connections and capacity to organize." 

Cleaver responded to the criticism and said Jamal’s case could end up leading to greater immigration legislation in the future.

“We hope that what he has gone through will have some value to the entire discussion,” he explained. “We think that, like Rosa Parks, he is the example we need."

It is still unclear when the bill will be taken up for consideration and a vote but Cleaver expected it to get support from both sides.