IMMIGRATION CRACKDOWN SHATTERS LIVES
- IMMIGRATION CRACKDOWN SHATTERS MUSLIMS' LIVES
Cam Simpson, Flynn McRoberts and Liz Sly, Chicago Tribune, 11/16/03
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The 75 passengers on the Icelandair jet sat
strapped to their seats, cloth bands cinching their arms to their
waists for all but the final descent of the three-leg, 20-hour
Struggling to feed themselves, they spilled rice and meat onto the
floor of the cabin. A trip to the bathroom required the escort of a
After the plane screeched to a halt in the sweltering July heat, U.S.
officials herded the men off the jet and onto the soil of their
native Pakistan. The purpose of the flight: deportation. Why them?
Some of the men had been jailed for months before they were tossed
out of America. Some had been convicted of crimes. All had been in
the U.S. illegally. But the chief reason many were singled out is
they were from one of the Muslim countries targeted by American
officials trying to foil another Sept. 11...
Four planes filled with deported Pakistanis had preceded Akbar's
flight, starting in June 2002, and one more has followed.
To assess the impact of the immigration crackdown, the Tribune
tracked passengers on the July flight to the dusty villages and
teeming cities of Pakistan.
Their stories illustrate how the campaign has ruptured families,
separating men from their U.S.-citizen wives and children. They show
how the government effectively put a premium on catching scofflaws
from mostly Muslim nations while allowing hundreds of thousands of
violators from other countries, including convicted criminals, to
TORN FROM FAMILIES AND JOBS, DEPORTEES FACE BLEAK FUTURE
Flynn McRoberts, Liz Sly and Cam Simpson, Chicago Tribune, 11/17/03
NEW YORK -- Suleman Faqih was jolted awake just before dawn last
January, when federal agents entered his bedroom and stuck a
flashlight in his face. "Get up!" they told him as he lay in
bed. "Let's go!"
Bleary-eyed, the 23-year-old complied, pulling on jeans and a
sweater. The agents handcuffed him and led him into the hallway of
his family's home in Queens, where his mother stood in her nightgown.
She, too, was cuffed.
As he was taken away from the three-story brick town house he grew up
in after coming to America at the age of 10, Faqih hoped it was all a
terrible case of mistaken identity, that he'd soon be back home. Back
to his bedroom, with the Aerosmith sticker on the side of his Dell
computer. Back to the cell phone store he and his cousin had just
opened on the Upper West Side.
But Faqih did not go home. In July, after 185 days in jail, he was
shuffled onto a plane filled with other deportees--75 men the Tribune
tracked to Pakistan to gauge the impact of the Bush administration's
post-Sept. 11 crackdown against illegal immigrants from predominantly
The stories of Faqih and the other men on the July flight to Pakistan
reflect not only the selective nature of the government's new
immigration initiatives, but the toll they have taken on individuals
SWEPT UP DESPITE HIS ADHERENCE TO THE LAW
Flynn McRoberts, Chicago Tribune, 11/17/03
CHARLOTTE -- Few people appreciate the new realities of homeland
security more than the employees of Worldwide Flight Services.
Preparing cargo loads for airlines flying out of the international
airport here, they are on the front line of the nation's efforts to
prevent another terrorist attack.
But they never imagined that effort would sweep up their friend and
former colleague, Raja Saleem.
Jane Hefner, a trainer at Worldwide, shook her head when told
recently that Saleem had been deported to his homeland of Pakistan.
"I hate that," Hefner said in her soft Southern drawl. "I truly
believe that boy wouldn't have done anything."
To Hefner and Saleem's other co-workers at Worldwide, he was a
gentleman and a hard worker, an employee so expert at their computer
system that he taught his superiors a thing or two.
"I wish there was something we could do to help him," Hefner
said. "It makes me sick to even hear it. . . . I would hate to go to
another country and be treated the way he was treated here..."
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