The Jailing of the Hazahza Family

In addition to the Ibrahim and Suleiman families, we present below information about seven members of the Hazahza family, who were also abducted in a dawn raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The account is taken from a slightly edited letter of appeal to ICE officials, written on Nov. 27 by Reza Barkhordari of Plano. We have only deleted for the time being the circumstances of the September killing of the family’s 16-year-old son, pending documentation and verification. The family is now represented by Dallas attorney Michelle L. Saenz-Rodriguez.–gm

The following members of a family from Irving, Texas were detained by US Immigration, Dallas Field
Office at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday morning, November 2nd.

1. Nazmieh Juma (Mother)
2. Radi Hazahza (Father)
3. Suzan Hazahza (Daughter, 19)
4. Mirvat Hazahza (Daughter, 23)
5. Mohammad Hazahza (Son, 11)
6. Hisham Hazahza (Son, 23)
7. Ahmad Hazahza (Son, 17)
The father of the family, Radi Hazahza, is originally from Palestine and worked in Jordan and Palestine as a
respected bank manager for many years. The family lived in Jordan for a long time before they moved to
Palestine.

They were initially granted entry into the United States on a visitor’s visa. At the completion of the
visa term they applied for asylum from the US government as their life had been threatened by the existing
violence and various life threats in those territories on multiple occasions.

The case was initially turned down largely for their counsel’s incompetence, and they appealed the case. The appeal was again handled in an unprofessional manner by their next Immigration attorney, who filed their petitions 90 days after the due date–papers which had been already provided to her previously along with the appropriate filling fees. In a formal letter to the INS Court of Appeals, she has officially addressed this issue and admitted to her shortcoming in their case, but the petition for asylum was rejected nevertheless.

Five of the seven family members have been transferred to the Haskell Jail, Immigration Detention Facility at 507 S 2nd St., Haskell, TX 79521.

The mother, Nazmieh Juma, and her 11-year-old son are being detained at the T. Don Hutto jail in Taylor, TX.

It breaks our hearts to see that such a hard-working family which is only trying to seek peace here in our
country is facing more difficulties than they have ever before when they fled here to escape this kind of
intimidation and violence in their own homeland.

Just like everyone else, they were also trying to integrate into the society with respect and dignity and to take advantage of the opportunities that our country has to offer for a better living standard. I wish we could do more to display our hospitality to those who are running away from the evils of their worlds and are seeking refuge in us.

Please do note the following facts and conditions with regards to the family concerning their case:

1. The family is currently undergoing extreme emotional difficulties due to the loss of their loved one.
The parents are still grieving the loss of their 16-year-old son (who was killed in September) and visit the cemetery at least once a week as a form of emotional release. I assume anyone with family could relate to the unbearable pain associated with this kind of tragedy.

2. The younger daughter, Suzan Hazahza, also engaged to a US citizen (the author of this account, Reza Barkhordari) for over a year now was also detained with the rest of the family. She was forced to temporarily withdraw from attending Northlake College to care for her mother after the family tragedy due to her mother’s emotional instability. Suzan is a daughter that most of us Americans would dream of having with a fully clean and clear criminal record. She does not even have a traffic violation.

3. The older daughter, Mirvat Hazahza, is officially and legally married to a US citizen as of two
months ago. She is a perfect model citizen with a clean criminal history, getting through college as
an honor student while making great financial contributions to her family and taking care of them.
The worst thing on her record maybe a traffic ticket, if any.

4. The mother, Nazmieh Juma, is on anti-depressant medication due to the high levels of stress and
extreme depression she is experiencing for the loss of her son. She is not mentally prepared to
undergo this type of additional mental stress. We are very concerned about her health, as it is very
important that she stays on schedule with respect to her prescriptions. She is not properly eating due to her depression and her dietary needs. Since she does not respond well to processed and prepared foods, she is basically living on lettuce, which is a cause of real worry for us.

5. Radi Hazahza, the father, is 60 and in a very bad mental condition fearing the life of his family
members if deported back to Palestine.

6. Ahmad Hazahza is a high-school student at McArthur High School in Irving, which he has been
unable to attend. As a juvenile in the adult jail at Haskell, he is being held in solitary confinement, which is causing him to be depressed. As a result of his extreme distress, he urinated blood for ten days prior to being attended by a physician.

[Note: the following information is found posted in a press release from ICE about the November roundup of “21 criminal aliens” in “Operation Return to Sender”: Ahmed Hazahza, 18 (editor’s note: Ahmad was 17 years old at the time of his arrest and incarceration by ICE), Palestinian, born in Jordan, was arrested in Irving, Texas on Nov. 02 on an outstanding order for deportation. Hazahza was convicted as an adult for three burglaries for which he received a 10-year probated sentence.]

7. Mohammad Hazahza was attending Sam Houston Middle School in Irving until detained by
Immigration.

The Immigration Deportation Officer in charge of their case is Mr. Calvin Meredith in the Dallas Field Office, Tel: (214) 905-5880.

This family has been through so much hardship that would not be bearable by most. In my heart of hearts I
know that they deserve much better than being detained under such conditions and being treated as
criminals.

Your kind and urgent attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.
Kind regards,

Reza Barkhordari
Plano, TX

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