The New Yorker:
Taseen Jamal, a fourteen-year-old from Lawrence, Kansas, was getting ready for school two weeks ago when his younger sister, Naheen, ran into the kitchen, screaming. A black truck with tinted windows was parked in their driveway, and two men, who identified themselves as officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), were putting their father, Syed, in handcuffs. Originally from Bangladesh, Syed moved to the United States in 1987. He is fifty-five years old, teaches chemistry at a local college, and has three children, all American citizens. “I’d heard about this stuff happening on the news,” Taseen told me. “I just didn’t think it could happen to us.” His father has been in detention since his arrest.
Syed Jamal first came to the U.S. on a student visa, to study at the University of Kansas. After graduating, he stayed in the country to work at Children’s Mercy Hospital, in Kansas City, which sponsored his H-1B visa. Over the next several years, he readjusted his status so that he could pursue graduate work; when his last visa expired, in 2008, he was unable to find another job in time to renew his papers. Since 2012, he’s had regular check-ins with ICE, yet he has been allowed to remain in the country because the Obama Administration, after arresting hundreds of thousands of people in its first few years, decided to stop focussing resources on deporting people without criminal records. Under the Trump Administration, which has called for a massive increase in deportations, people like Jamal are getting rearrested and processed for deportation. ICE made a hundred and forty thousand arrests last year, an increase of thirty per cent compared with the year before, and the number of so-called non-criminal arrests has doubled. Immigrants who have lived productive lives in the U.S. for decades are being rounded up. “There’s no rhyme or reason behind it,” Felicia Escobar, who was an immigration adviser to President Barack Obama, told me.
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