There has been major controversy surrounding the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement fueled by the national political climate.
ICE “enforces federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration to promote homeland security and public safety,” according to ICE’s website. With President Donald Trump and his administration’s strict anti-immigrant polices, ICE poses a danger to many American immigrants—some who have lived here for the majority of their lives and call the U.S. home.
Syed Ahmed Jamal, a professor in Kansas, was arrested by ICE on Jan. 24, according to NBC. Jamal was taken by ICE on his own front lawn and was denied the opportunity to say goodbye to his wife and family according to NBC. He is currently in Missouri, where he is being held, according to the Kansas City News.
Jamal’s arrest was seemingly uncalled for. It brings up major concerns regarding the representation of the U.S. immigration policy. Jamal had entered the country legally, obtained multiple student visas, had been charged with minor speeding tickets and had held an esteemed job as a professor in higher education, as reported by The Washington Post. Furthermore, Jamal had been living in the U.S for 30 years, according to CBS.
If individuals like Jamal are being arrested and deported by the ICE, then it is even more concerning for other immigrants.
There are currently over 10,000 signatures on a petition opposing Jamal’s deportation according to Kansas City News. It is likely that other immigrants have had the same—or even worse—experiences with ICE, but their stories have not been publicized.
Jamal’s story is essential in communicating the need to reform on immigrant policy and the Trump administration’s brutal and illogical stance on immigration. The harsh stance and anti-immigrant attitude from the government is creating an overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety among citizens.
Immigration lawyer Jeffrey Y. Bennet, who is against Jamal’s deportation, claims that “Jamal’s arrest is the latest example of ICE agents abruptly targeting noncitizens who don’t have criminal records and who have, in the past, been allowed to stay in the country because they were seen as contributing positively to society” according to The Washington Post.
This incident has been a turning point in immigration policy and highlights the extent to which the Trump administration and ICE are cracking down on deportations. Such a phenomenon is absolutely unacceptable and the need for policy change is clear.
In the meantime, it is imperative to stay up to date on deportation cases and fight for justice for immigrants especially those like Jamal and his family, who call the U.S. their home.