Nabeel Supporters Appeal for his Immediate Return to US

by Greg Moses

Citing concerns for his own safety, 19-year-old Saad Nabeel has resigned from a college in Malaysia as supporters work for his immediate return to the United States.

“I am confident that the US government can find a way to allow Saad to come home,” said immigrant rights activist Ralph Isenberg, who has been in communication this week with Dallas officials of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Isenberg says immigration officials could evaluate Nabeel for a “humanitarian parole” that would allow the former Texas college student to return to the US for one year.

Humanitarian parole is a status usually granted for medical conditions. And Isenberg says there are good reasons to be concerned for Nabeel’s psychological health if he is not allowed to return to America.

Nabeel came to the US as a child, attending elementary school in California and high school in Texas. He graduated from Liberty High School of Frisco Texas in 2009 and enrolled with full scholarship as an engineering student at the University of Texas at Arlington.

During the first semester of his freshman year at college, Nabeel and his parents were detained by immigration officials. The family was deported to Bangladesh in early 2010.

Once in Bangladesh, Nabeel reconstructed his laptop computer and began a Facebook campaign for his return. “The Official Group: Bring Saad Nabeel Back Home to America” has grown to 5,600 members at Facebook. And his story has attracted attention and sympathy from major media around the world.

In November, Nabeel was struck with a cane by a policeman in Bangladesh after he protested the beatings of homeless children. One week after that incident, Nabeel was sent by his family to Malaysia where he was enrolled in college.

But Nabeel said in his letter of resignation from the college this week that he does not feel safe there. He objected to the strict religious requirements of the curriculum, claimed that his views of culture and politics alienated him from fellow students, and worried that his enrollment at the Islamic college might endanger his case for re-entry to the United States.

“The humanitarian reason for allowing Saad to return is clear and obvious,” says Isenberg. “There is no reason not to parole him into the US.”

Missing the OLD (Cold) War

By MaryEllen Kersch

As one who grew up in fear of the total obliteration of the planet, I never thought I would say this, but I sort of miss the Cold War these days.

Not the diving under solid objects during “fall-out drills” in school, or being on the alert for strange-looking airplanes potentially carrying real weapons of mass-destruction, — those were not fond childhood memories. However, in retrospect, The Cold War united the people of our country in a sense of who we were and what we stood for.

The United States, during that era, certainly earned its position as the moral leader of the world. The big difference between us and the Commies was that we valued human dignity. We set the standards, worldwide, for the proper treatment of people under all circumstances; we spoke out against torture, oppression, starvation. We urged all nations to be, as we were, compassionate to those less fortunate than us and courageous against those who degraded our fellow humans. We practiced the golden rule. We did it because we knew it was right.

Here we are, six years after some lunatics, who still remain free, committed atrocious acts against us and we seem to have lost the moral compass that guided us so well. During the Cold War, we never would have put children in prisons. (We even agonized and apologized for our interment camps of WWII!) But that is precisely what we are doing now, under some convoluted grant of power in the name of, but having nothing to do with, Homeland Security.

For over a year now, the Commissioners Court in Williamson County, Texas, has acted as contractual “provider” in a corrupt contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (known chillingly, appropriately, as ICE) for the administration of T Don Hutto “residential” facility.

T Don Hutto was a founder of the firm that owns and operates this prison that is pretending to be a “residential” facility. Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest — and hugely profitable — private operator of prisons in America, actually runs this shameful facility on a pass-through contract with the County. Under this arrangement, CCA gets 2.8 million tax dollars a month (approximately $84,000 a year for each tender little body they “detain”), and the County gets a dollar a day a body.

(Curious that the County is even involved; ICE could contract directly with CCA since CCA owns the prison in the first place. But, as some legal experts say, with the County in the loop, the County very likely shares any legal exposure. And the County collects $12-$15 thousand a month from the Feds for going along.)

The human beings held at T Don Hutto are not criminals; they are charged with no crimes, nor are they suspected of being a threat to us, or our homeland security. Many of the children are actually citizens of this country.

The Bush administration (and the Republican Williamson County Commissioner Court) justify this shameful partnership by citing their dedication to “family values.” Keeping the kids together with mom, you know.

Many experts say, and several governmental agencies (including Congressional groups) urge, that people awaiting disposition of their applications for amnesty and/or immigration ought to be equipped with an electronic device and allowed to go with responsible family members or church groups pending a decision by our authorities. It would be considerably cheaper—and far more humane. There are such programs in a number of other communities. But maybe they didn’t have a vacant prison owned by a corporation that donated lots of campaign dollars to lots of elected officials.

In the former era, during the Cold War, this is the sort of dishonorable thing the Commies would have done. But not the United States of America.

Hector Lopez Sent away from Asylum Hearing in AZ, Told to Check Mail for Next Order

by Greg Moses

A 21-year-old college student from Portland, Oregon says he is a little confused and disappointed after being turned away from a scheduled asylum hearing in Arizona early Thursday morning.

“I was just kind of disappointed,” said Hector Lopez speaking via cell phone as he returned to the Phoenix airport for the trip back home. “I was getting psyched up to start the legal process, so it sort of kicks the winds out of my sails. We’re ready for the hearing right now.”

Lopez carried with him a letter that he was given on the evening of Dec. 22, his final night of detention at a Florence, AZ facility managed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The letter ordered him to appear for an asylum hearing on Jan. 6.

Dallas immigration advocate Ralph Isenberg accompanied Lopez to the Florence, AZ detention center on Thursday morning. The two met at the Phoenix airport after midnight, drove to Florence, and stayed up until 4:30 a.m. preparing for an 8:30 hearing. When they arrived at the facility, Isenberg said he and Lopez were informed by a security officer that the order to appear at the hearing was vacated when Lopez was released from detention on Dec. 23.

According to Isenberg and Lopez, the security guard at the Florence, AZ detention facility advised them that they didn’t have a court appointment and that Lopez should be getting something in the mail telling him when and where to appear for his next immigration hearing.

“It turned out not to be necessary for me to make the trip to Arizona,” said Lopez. “I’m a little confused why I wouldn’t be told beforehand why I didn’t have to come. It wasn’t cheap to fly from Portland.”

“The only thing I can compare it to is the guard in the Wizard of Oz,” said Isenberg. “You know how you knock on his door, and ask to speak to the Wizard, but he says you can’t see the Wizard and slams the door.”

“We have so many cases of people getting penalized for failure to appear and not understanding the system,” said Isenberg. “Hector Lopez is very intelligent. He was handed a written order. We were prepared for the hearing. But it’s a very dangerous situation when a security guard tells you to just check your mail.

“Think about the average person in these kinds of proceedings. They might assume they’re free. Ask Hector if he feels safer now?”

“No I don’t feel safer now,” answered Lopez as he and Isenberg approached the Phoenix airport. “I’m relying on the post office to tell me what to do next.”