Nadia Habib is a junior honor student majoring in psychology at Stony Brook University in New York. She is supposed to be deported tomorrow, September 29, at 11:00 am with her mother, Nazmin Habib, back to Bangladesh.
Nadia came to the US when she was 20 months old with her mother. Her Bangladeshi father drives a cab in Queens and has a green card; she has three younger siblings who were all born in the US. It was only in her senior year at Bronx High School of Science that Nadia learned she was undocumented. Nazmin Habib has been trying for the past decade to reopen their asylum case, to no avail: On September 10, they received a letter from Immigration and Customs Enforcement saying that will be deported. As Nadia said to the New York Daily News:
“If we have to leave I’d be leaving my three siblings, my father and my entire life,” Habib said. “It would mean losing a lot, everything basically, of what we have.”
“I don’t even know if I were to go back what I would do – I can’t even speak the language,” said Habib. “My mom’s just scared.”
Nadia also told CBS News that they have to report to the authorities with 50 pounds of baggage each and their passports or they will be detained.
Under the DREAM Act — according to which undocumented students brought to the US as children would not be considered for deportation – Nadia and her mother would be able to stay in the US.
Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY.), and the New York State Youth Leadership Council (a student group advocating for undocumented youth) have appealed to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement on behalf of Nadia and students at Stony Brook have launched a Facebook campaign in support.
The looming deportation for Nadia and Nazmin Habib coincides with a time when the Obama administration has promised to take a tougher stance on deporting immigrants who have committed crimes in the US. As Hunter College student Sonia Guinansaca, who works with the New York State Youth Leadership Council, says, “Although Obama has promised not to be going after non-criminal cases, he’s going after Nadia and her mom.” Indeed, the reasons for not deporting Nadia and Nazmin Habib are ample as Mike Riggs at Reason: Hit & Run writes:
…under President Barack Obama’s softer deportation policy, Habib and her mother shouldn’t need an army of sympathizers to stay in the U.S. Immigration officials now have additional “prosecutorial discretion” in determining who to deport. That phrase means ICE officials will not be punished for deprioritizing undocumented workers who have family in the U.S., hold down good jobs, or are in school, but are technically in violation of U.S. immigration law.
Nadia Habib is exactly the sort of young person who will make a contribution to this country; who is already doing so. It is later than the eleventh hour, but please take action to tell President Obama and Immigration and Customs Enforcement that Nadia and Nazmin Habib more than deserve to stay in the US and to have their asylum case reviewed.
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