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'It's a rollercoaster experience:' Syed Jamal reacts to man's arrest by ICE, recalls own experience

Posted at 10:36 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 08:25:21-04

LAWRENCE, Kan. — More than a year has passed since Syed Jamal walked out of the Platte County Jail, but seeing video of a Kansas City man's arrest this week brought the memories flooding back.

"It of course is painful," Jamal, a father and chemistry instructor, said of seeing agents break a car window to take Florencio Millan into custody.

Millan's girlfriend and two children were in the car when it happened.

"Now because of it, my son doesn't want to be here. He doesn't want to be in his home. He doesn't want to go outside," Cheyenne Hoyt, Millan's partner, said during a press conference Tuesday.

Jamal said his arrest and subsequent detention changed the way his children look at the world. It was difficult for them to understand it since they were born and raised by their parents in the United States.

Jamal had overstayed a voluntary departure order notice in 2011, but the U.S. government previously allowed him to stay in the country under supervision.

After his arrest in January 2018, Jamal was on the brink of deportation to Bangladesh for two months.

"It's basically like a rollercoaster experience," Jamal said.

He was taken from Morgan County to Platte County, then on to El Paso, Texas. From there, Jamal ended up on a plane to Bangladesh, which stopped in Hawaii when he was granted a stay of removal.

"Of course you're worried, but since you knew the legal process was ongoing, there were so many people supporting, I had this hope we could still pull it off, even when I was on the plane," he said.

It was support from his family, friends, lawmakers and the community that kept him going.

"There are many people who I thought didn't care as much about me. Now I see that they really care," Jamal said.

He hopes Millan can also find strength and faith during this challenging time.

"It can seem like a hopeless situation, but people have come out of hopeless situations," Jamal said.

Jamal's immigration case was reopened, and his next hearing is set for April 27, 2022.