A Kansas science teacher has been given the opportunity to argue his deportation case after months of legal battles and support from his community, his attorney said Tuesday.
According to a statement released by Syed Ahmed Jamal's lawyer, Rekha Sharma-Crawford, the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled that reopening his case was warranted, which will allow Jamal and his wife, who is also undocumented and has been a rider on his case, the opportunity to argue their case and ask an immigration judge to review numerous opportunities for them to gain legal status in the United States.
"We're all very, very relieved that at the end of the day what we've been saying from day one, which is give them a fundamentally fair hearing, was a matter that the board recognized," Sharma-Crawford told VOA.
"To that end, I think it is a clear win to the process. Certainly, the clients are much relieved ... although at this point cautiously so since it is not completely over."
The threat of deportation is "no longer imminent," according to Sharma-Crawford, but the couple awaits their first court date, which could be as far away as early 2019.
"We're all focused on whether the children will be impacted in an unusual or exceptional way," Sharma-Crawford said of Jamal's three children, who are all American citizens by birth, and whose future lies in the hands of the court should their parents be deported.
Jamal, an adjunct instructor at Park University at the time of his arrest, was released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention on March 20, as VOA reported at the time. He had been held since his arrest Jan. 24 for overstaying his visa.
Since a district court judge allowed his release, Jamal has been awaiting a decision on his appeal to a deportation order at his home with his family.
Jamal first came to the United States on a student visa in 1986, and later obtained an undergraduate degree, as well as master's degrees in molecular biology and pharmacology.
In recent years, he has taught numerous local universities as an adjunct instructor — most recently at Park University in Missouri.