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    Nadia Habib is safe for now, deportation is stayed

    Nadia Habib, pictured above, and her mother Nazmin have been granted a stay of at least a year in the United States by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (Photo Credit: NYS Youth Leadership Council)

    A Stony Brook University student received a birthday present on Friday that she will never forget.

    Nadia Habib, a psychology major who was scheduled to be deported to Bangladesh last week, has been granted a stay of removal for a year.

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, told Habib on Friday that she and her mother, Nazmin, who was also facing deportation, will be allowed to stay in the United States for at least 12 months. The women will be using this time to apply for permanent residency.

    “I’m just really glad things worked out,” said Habib, who was brought to the U.S. when she was one year old and did not know about her undocumented status until her senior year in high school.

    Habib and her mother had to present themselves for deportation at ICE’s New York office in Federal Plaza at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29. Immigration officers then gave the pair a temporary stay and told them that ICE Director Christopher Shanahan would review their case and make a decision later.

    Right before the appointment, more than 100 demonstrators rallied outside the building to protest Habib’s deportation. The New York State Youth Leadership Council, or NYSYLC, collected more than 6,000 signatures for a petition requesting ICE to stop the pair’s deportation, according to Daniela Alulema, a core member of NYSYLC.

    During the meeting, Habib and her mother had to surrender their passports and were told not to leave the state. The order was cancelled after Shanahan decided not to deport them for the time being.

    “Our focus should be on deporting people who are a threat to this country, not a young woman who is fully focused on her school work and reaching her full potential,” said Congressman Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), who was one of several lawmakers to send letters to ICE on behalf of Habib and her mother.

    Habib, who does not speak Bengali, turned 20 on Friday and celebrated the victory in her home in Queens with family members and some friends, including a few activists who rallied in her support on Thursday.

    Habib has three younger siblings who are all U.S. citizens. Her father, who came to the country years before her mom, has a green card and did not face deportation.

    Habib’s attorney, Aygul Charles, said the girl’s emotions on Thursday were boiled down to one word: “scared.”

    “Nadia has been here almost her entire life,” Charles said. “She was really scared.”

    Charles told NYSYLC, however, that the stay of removal is not “a permanent relief” and there are still many problems to solve before Habib and her mother finally become legal residents.

    “There is still a big chance that Nadia and her mother will be deemed deportable after the expiration of the stay of removal. Also, the stay of removal can be lifted by ICE at any moment,” Charles said.

    Charles said the Stony Brook community has been very supportive. Habib said she has talked to some of her professors and have been very understanding.

    If President Barack Obama’s DREAM Act had been already approved, Nadia would definitely qualify, Charles said. The act would provide permanent residency to students who come to the country as children, graduate from a U.S. high school, have good moral character and complete two years of college or military service in good standing.

    After a week away from the university, Habib came back to Stony Brook on Sunday. She lives right next to South P parking lot.

    Alulema attributed the ICE’s latest decision to the pressure from the community.

    Nazmin Habib has been fighting for an asylum status for herself and her daughter for more than 10 years with no success.

     

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