Stand up for Ahmed Hossain

October 31, 2011

Because of clerical errors, the U.S. is about to deport Ahmed Hossain--ripping his family apart and putting his health in danger, reports Danny Katch.

TANMOY HOSSAIN is the apple of his parents' eye. The 7-year-old boy is in the Talented and Accelerated Program at his Queens elementary school. Bright as he is, Tanmoy keeps asking Ahmed and Salina Hossain the same question, because there is something he just can't understand: Why is his father being punished for a lawyer's mistake?

Ahmed Hossain arrived legally in the United States from his native Bangladesh 19 years ago. When he applied for asylum, his lawyer at the time mistakenly filed his case under the name "Akter Hossain." For this reason, an immigration judge denied Ahmed's bid for asylum on the grounds of fraud, even though it was Ahmed himself who revealed the mistake to the judge.

Later, in 2001, Ahmed won the lottery for a "diversity visa," but his final interview was postponed due to the September 11 attacks. When he went for his rescheduled interview the following May, he was ruled to have come in too late due to a clerical error on the part of immigration officials.

This summer, President Obama announced that immigration officials would suspend deportations against people who "pose no threat to national security or public safety." Obama's decision was widely seen as an effort going into next year's election to shore up the support of Latinos and other immigrant groups who have been bitterly disappointed thus far that Obama has actually doubled the rate of deportations from the Bush years.

Ahmed Hossain with his wife and children
Ahmed Hossain with his wife and children

If Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is serious about carrying out Obama's new policy, then they have to explain why they plan to deport Ahmed to Bangladesh on November 8.

AHMED HOSSAIN is a poster child for everything that's wrong with America's dysfunctional immigration politics. This man that ICE is determined to deport is a devoted father and husband, a taxpayer with no criminal record.

He has been an active member of the taxi drivers' association, Shapla Welfare Associates, including serving a term as the general secretary. He has acted with and directed the Bangladesh Theater of America. Ahmed is such a pillar of his community that his deportation case has been widely covered by the Bangla press in New York and by television stations in Bangladesh.

The Hossain family is completely dependent on Ahmed's income as a taxi driver. If he is deported, Salina, Tanmoy and 17-month-old Tamanna will quickly fall behind on their mortgage payments, and might end up on the street. As if all of this doesn't make the case clear cut enough, Ahmed has had open-heart surgery and now takes daily medications that are not widely available in Bangladesh. If he is deported, his health is in danger.

What you can do

Call New York Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand at 212-909-0492 and Congressman Bob Turner at 718-520-9001 and ask them to stop Ahmed Hossain's deportation by calling Christopher Shanahan, ICE Field Office Director, at 212-264-4213

Sign a petition to stop Ahmed's deportation and visit the Facebook page for information.

Attend the rally outside of Ahmed's deportation hearing on Tuesday, November 8 at 8 a.m. at 26 Federal Plaza in downtown Manhattan.

The Bangladeshi-American Community Council is calling for supporters of the Hossain family to call their elected officials and rally outside Ahmed's deportation hearing on the morning of November 8.

The rally will take place at the New York headquarters of ICE, about 10 blocks north of the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Liberty Park. If activists from the Occupy movement can come out and show ICE officials that support for Ahmed is growing across different communities in New York, it can make a real difference.

Last month, a similar campaign led by the New York State Youth Leadership Council successfully won a stay of deportation for Nazmin and Nadia Habib.

Immigrants are part of the 99 percent. Let's all stand up for Ahmed Hossain.

Further Reading

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