Friday, June 25, 2004

Crowley's efforts help keep local immigrant from deportation by Noah Fowle

Crowley�s efforts help keep local immigrant from deportation by Noah Fowle

Thanks to the support of the Special Registrants’ Action Network and efforts of Congressman Joseph Crowley, Baychester resident Malik Akbar, a father of five battling a heart ailment, was able to avoid deportation to his native Pakistan by the Department of Homeland Security.

Through an intense letter writing campaign, the 66-year-old was able to gain a deferred action on his pending adjustment application with only 30-days before his schedule deportation.

This decision quite possibly saved Akbar’s life, because he suffers from a number of ailments which would be very difficult to treat in Pakistan. After regaining a foothold in this country, Akbar is assisting his children in their process to gain permanent resident status.

"This decision has given me a chance at life," Akbar said. "I am very grateful that I am able to stay in this country with my family."

Crowley said it was important to approach each of these cases individually. "I am happy to support Mr. Akbar. He has displayed integrity and honesty throughout the process and done nothing wrong by being in this country," Crowley said. "His heart condition would most certainly have worsened had he been sent back to Pakistan.º Cases such as these often tear families apart, and it is of utmost importance to process each of them in a delicate and proper manner."º

Fran Mahoney of Crowley’s office dealt personally with Akbar’s case and said she was struck by its unique circumstances. "I thought Mr. Akbar’s situation was very sad," Mahoney said. "Sending him home would have been sending him to his death bed."

Akbar came to the U.S. with his wife and children four years ago seeking a better life and more opportunities. Last year, Akbar complied with the Department of Justice’s Special Registration program, and soon after, received an order from Homeland Security officials informing him that he could either depart the U.S. voluntarily, or be deported in three months and be barred from the country for several years, due to more stringent rules now applied to Muslim immigrants. He was then put in touch with the Special Registrants’ Action Network and aided by the efforts of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. A large initiative was started in order to more clearly depict Akbar’s role as an upstanding member of society and a family man in this country. More than 200 letters in his support were sent to U.S. officials, including two from Crowley’s Office.

In light of his own situation, Akbar has maintained his outspoken support of other special registrants in their own deportation proceedings. Crowley joined his constituent in stressing the need to carefully examine these deportation cases. "Homeland Security came through on this case, and I sincerely hope that others in the same predicament are given fair consideration," Crowley said.


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