KANSAS CITY, Mo. — UPDATE 4:30 PM 2/12/2017: Syed Jamal's fight to stay in the U.S. continues thanks to another stay of removal issued just hours after a previous stay was denied.
According to Jamal's attorney, Rekha Sharma-Crawford, he was put on a plane to Bangladesh Monday morning. She's hopeful that he will be removed from the flight when it stops to refuel in Hawaii and will then return to Kansas.
Jamal, an adjunct instructor at Park University, was living in Lawrence, Kansas when he was arrested by ICE agents in late January.
A stay issued last week was denied by an immigration judge Monday morning. However, at about 4:30 p.m. Monday, Jamal's attorney posted on Facebook that the Board of Immigration Appeals granted a new stay of removal.
Jamal's attorney, Rekha Sharma-Crawford, said that the Department of Homeland security didn't notify her or Jamal's family that he was being moved on Monday like they are supposed to.
"It's outrageous," said Sharma-Crawford. "To put a family through that, where they don't know where a loved one is. It's outrageous."
Sharma-Crawford claims that Jamal was moved before the first stay was even denied.
The developments on Monday at first brought sadness and stress for the family of Syed Jamal before relief finally came in the afternoon.
“It’s been a very stressful day. It's been very hectic,” explained Syed Hussain Jamal, the brother of Syed Jamal. “We're just trying to figure out what's happened."
Jamal’s brother told 41 Action News he spent much of the day on the phone calling lawyers and many other people.
After the announcement of a new stay of removal being granted, he said the stakes of the case remained very high.
“It's heart-wrenching,” he explained. “All this is going to do is rip apart a U.S. family and rip apart a dad with three U.S. citizen children."
Syed Hussain Jamal was joined by another brother on Monday who drove down from Milwaukee.
Jamal told 41 Action News that recent days had been met with little sleep and many concerns for the family.
“It's just very stressful,” he explained. “We're doing everything we can trying to get this thing resolved as fast as possible."
After the first stay was denied on Monday, government officials told 41 Action News a federal immigration judge has denied Jamal's motion to reopen his immigration case for "lack of jurisdiction," and vacated the temporary stay of removal that had been granted Feb. 8, 2018.
ICE officers arrested Jamal outside his home as he was taking his kids to school in late January. Since, he's spent weeks in jail in Missouri, and authorities recently transported him to a facility in El Paso as the deportation process neared finality last week.
The appeal process remains uncertain for Jamal, a 55-year-old father of three who's been in the United States for more than three decades. His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
As Jamal's story made its way across the country, a representative across state lines took particular interest. Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver has been very vocal about his support for Jamal and has said he plans to draft a bill that would help Jamal and people who find themselves in similar situations.
"It's an artificial crisis that's breaking up a family. I have not met anyone in Washington, republican or democrat, who said this is wrong. You ought to leave this alone," said Cleaver.
Cleaver released this statement Monday:
“I am disappointed in the judge’s decision to deport Mr. Syed Jamal. I understand his attorneys are appealing the decision. I will continue my plans to draft a bill to show how this broken and unfair immigration system affects families, who have responsibilities and deep ties to their communities. The system is broken. We need to fix these laws that criminalize hard-working, contributing members of society like Mr. Syed Jamal and that’s what I plan to push for in Congress.”
Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins also sent 41 Action News the following statement on the judge's decision in Jamal's case:
"Last week I wrote a letter in support of Mr. Jamal’s case being reopened to ensure due process is served. I am disappointed to learn of the Judge’s decision to not re-open the case. My heart aches for his wife and children. I cannot imagine what they are going through during this very difficult time."
Jamal came to the U.S. from Bangladesh 31 years ago and was working as an adjunct chemistry instructor at Park University before his arrest. He planned to teach at St. Luke's Hospital this summer and has taught at several colleges around the metro in recent years.