Deportation Charges Dropped Following Intervention of ADC and MPAC
ADC is pleased to report that deportation proceedings against a US
permanent resident, a Canadian citizen of Iraqi origin, have been
dropped. Mr. Kussay Al-Sabunchi was issued a deportation order by
officials from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(BICE) for allegedly falsifying his green card application by failing
to mention a criminal misdemeanor charge he faced in 1997, which was
subsequently dropped in court. (The charge was violating a
restraining order for having sent roses to his ex-wife). According to
Mr. Al-Sabunchi, when he filed an application for permanent residency
(green card), his attorney advised him that he did not have to
mention the charge due to the fact that the charge was dismissed.
Mr. Al-Sabunchi contacted ADC, the Muslim Public Affairs Council
(MPAC) and other organizations regarding his case, fearing that
immigration officials may have been targeting him because of his
ADC Legal Advisor, Kareem Shora, contacted the Officer of Civil
Rights and Liberties at the Department of Homeland Security, Mr.
Daniel Sutherland, to express serious concerns about the case. In
addition, ADC sent a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Mr. Michael Garcia, raising the
same concerns. In its letter ADC stated, "If Mr. Al-Sabunchi's
allegations are accurate, then it appears that the motivations
for Mr. Al-Sabunchi's deportation may have originated less from his
supposed green card falsification and more from the racial biases of
the involved officers. ADC also wrote, "Considering that Mr. Al-
Sabunchi is of Iraqi descent , ADC is concerned in ascertaining
whether or not this factor played a role in the actions of the BICE
officers who handled the case."
Mr. Al-Sabunchi contacted ADC yesterday to inform us that BICE filed
a motion to terminate deportation proceedings against him and that
the immigration judge granted the motion on April 13. 2004. In a
letter sent to ADC, Mr. Al-Sabunchi praised ADC's efforts and thanked
Kareem Shora and Hussein Ibish for their support. In his letter, he
exclaimed, "I can't find the words to use to express to you how
grateful I am to all your assistance, I am sure all the contribution
you have provided to me and my family definitely made the difference."
JUDGE DROPS CASE AGAINST IMMIGRANT
Pedro Ruz Gutierrez, Orlando Sentinel, 4/20/04
Kussay "Gus" Al-Sabunchi can smile again after learning that the U.S.
government is no longer trying to deport him.
After a yearlong battle to expel the Iraqi-born Orange County
resident, a U.S. immigration judge has dropped charges that the IBM
engineer lied on an immigration form.
"There aren't enough words to show my appreciation," Al-Sabunchi, 39,
said Monday after seeing the judge's order. "It's truly a fair
Al-Sabunchi, whose troubles began when he violated a court order by
sending roses to his estranged wife in 1997, had gained support from
national civil-rights groups, members of congress and Arab-American
advocacy groups. They had lobbied the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and
Customs Enforcement in recent months to dismiss the case, which they
said was an example of an unfair crackdown on Muslim immigrants after
Juan Carlos Perez, Al-Sabunchi's immigration attorney, said his
client's perseverance was rewarded because he "believes in the
American system of justice..."
JUSTICE DENIED IN WAR THAT NEVER ENDS
Myriam Marquez, Orlando Sentinel, 4/22/04
Yusef Al-Sabunchi is only 11, but he understands the meaning of
justice. It means his daddy can stay in America, work hard and live
It's been a bittersweet lesson for Yusef, whose father, Kussay Al-
Sabunchi, made headlines after federal investigators stormed his
house and handcuffed him in front of his family a year ago. The
father's "crime" was sending flowers to his ex-wife, Yusef's mother,
Because Al-Sabunchi had a restraining order, he shouldn't have sent
flowers. When he applied for permanent U.S. residency, the now
remarried Al-Sabunchi says, his lawyer forgot to include the flower
incident. Years later, in post-9-11 haste, federal immigration
authorities sought to deport him on this technicality, as if the
Iraqi computer engineer were a terrorist. Never mind that an Orlando
federal judge already had acquitted him of his "crime."
Federal officials caught lots of flak from civil-rights groups and
members of Congress for good reason. In the name of "homeland
security," officials went after a man whose own father was kidnapped
and tortured by Saddam Hussein's regime 30 years ago. Finally, the
government dropped the case Friday.
That night, a smiling Yusef told his father, "You know something,
Daddy, I love the American people because they helped you."
Where are the American people for all the other Al-Sabunchis out
Because since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 this nation's system
of justice, the very core of what America stands for, has been turned
upside down. Rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution are now
subject to imperial decree from our very own King George under the
pretext that we're at war.
Whether it's bypassing the courts or imprisoning foreign nationals
indefinitely at the U.S. base in Guantanamo, Cuba, or holding
suspected U.S. citizens, such as "dirty" bomb suspect Jose Padilla,
without charges and without access to a lawyer, the president has
imposed policies that dictatorial governments love to use.
And in this war that never ends, the Patriot Act stands out as a law-
enforcement "tool" with no checks and balances, no judicial review
and barely any legislative oversight
FBI KEEPS YEMENI JAILED
Caryl Clarke, York Daily Record, 4/22/04
An attorney for a Yemeni man being held in the York County Prison as
a possible terrorist had harsh words for the federal government this
week after recently learning the FBI has no records on his client.
Attorney Farhad Sethna of Akron, Ohio, said the 18-month detention of
Ashraf Al-Jailani is a great injustice if there aren't any records of
FBI Special Agent Roger Charnesky had testified against Al-Jailani
before Immigration Court Judge Walter Durling in October.
The agent alleged connections between Al-Jailani and suspected
terrorists through five hours of testimony.
Sethna asked the agent if he had ever interviewed Al-Jailani.
Charnesky said he hadn't. It would have been a waste of time, he
said, because people involved with terrorist organizations don't tell
Al-Jailani, a geochemist, matched the profile for a terrorist as a
highly educated Muslim man married to an American and working in a
job beneath his abilities, the agent said.
If the accusations were true, Judge Durling said at the October
hearing, the defendant should be in the custody of U.S. marshals
instead of taking up time in immigration court.
Al-Jailani, a 40-year-old permanent legal resident who had been
working in a soap-making factory, was arrested in October 2002 for
deportation based on his no-contest plea to a 1998 domestic violence
charge, which Ohio Gov. Bob Taft pardoned in 2001...
VIGIL TO SHED LIGHT ON PROFILING, DETAINEE'S PLIGHT
Lauri Lebo, York Dispatch, 4/22/04
The Peace and Justice Foundation is holding a candlelight vigil
tomorrow at York County Prison on behalf of an immigration detainee
and to create awareness of what it calls racial profiling by the
Mohammad Khaldoun Eizeddin, 26, of Syria was detained at an airport
March 9 as he was leaving the U.S. Immigration officials have charged
him with visa fraud.
Mauri Saalakham, who heads the Silver Spring, Md.-based Peace and
Justice Foundation became aware of Eizeddin's case through what he
calls Eizeddin's wide range of community support...
Eizeddin, who had been residing in the United States for about a
year, had been employed by an Allentown mosque, but was in the middle
of changing jobs, Saalakham said.
He was reapplying for a revised visa when he was arrested, Saalakham
York's Coalition for Immigrants' Rights at the Community Level also
is participating in the vigil.
Executive director Kathleen Lucas said there is a selective
enforcement of immigration laws and men from predominantly Muslim
countries are being thrown in jail for minor infractions such as
overstaying a visa.
She said the vigil is also to protest against the federal
government's policy of jailing asylum seekers...
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