Park professor Jamal to get an appeal on deportation case

The chemist and Park University adjunct professor whose story of arrest and possible deportation swept across national and international news earlier this year will get a new day in court.

Last week, the Board of Immigration Appeals re-opened the deportation case of Syed Jamal. In its decision, dated Thursday, Aug. 9, the board found that re-opening is warranted, allowing Jamal to have an immigration judge in Kansas City review his case.

“This is certainly a wonderful day for Mr. Jamal, his wife and their three children,” said Jamal’s attorney Rekha Sharma-Crawford in a release. “Since the Board of Immigration Appeals remanded the case for a full hearing, Mr. Jamal and his family will now have the opportunity to ask an immigration judge to review multiple forms of relief allowed under the law; it is also a good day for the rule of law.”

The Polsinelli law firm has also joined the cause, representing Jamal pro bono.

Sharma-Crawford said that this ends the immediate threat of deportation for Jamal, but the case will continue in court. No hearing date has yet been set.

Jamal, 55, an immigrant from Bangladesh who has lived in the United States for more than 30 years, was arrested by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents at his home in Lawrence in late January. He was in custody at the Platte County Detention Center after a cross-country trek that ended in Hawaii when a court blocked his immediate deportation and was released in March after 55 days of detention.

Jamal earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Kansas, and started teaching advanced inorganic chemistry at Park University at the beginning of the spring term. Jamal has done research work for University of Kansas, Children’s Mercy, Rockhurst University, and other entities.

According to Sharma-Crawford, the path to citizenship for immigrants is difficult and a procedural error made during an attempt to file for citizenship may have led to the current situation.

ICE officials say Jamal twice overstayed his visa and in 2011 was ordered to leave the country. Jamal entered the United States on a student visa, then stayed on a specialized visa for highly-skilled workers.

He returned to a student visa when he finished his PhD at University of Kansas and had most recently been issued the temporary work permit he presented to Park University.