Thursday, July 01, 2004

INDOlink - NRI News - Congressmen Seek To Halt Immigrant�s Deportation

INDOlink - NRI News - Congressmen Seek To Halt Immigrant�s Deportation

Washington, July 1 (NNN): As many as 20 members of the American Congress have sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security to save a Pakistani immigrant from a certain deportation.

Ansar Mahmood, 27, lost his final judicial appeal on Tuesday and now faces a certain deportation unless the US government grants him a last minute reprieve.

In the letter, the lawmakers urged department Secretary Tom Ridge to defer Mahmood's deportation.

One of the longest-held detainees from a roundup of Arab and Muslim immigrants following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Mahmood, was originally arrested for taking pictures of a water reservoir in upstate New York in October 2001.

US officials initially said he was taking the pictures to plan a terrorist attack, but never brought the charges against him. Instead they charged him with sheltering an out-of-status Pakistani family in 2002. Mahmood says he did not know the family was out of status.

However, Mahmood was sentenced to time served and five-year probation for helping the Pakistani family. US immigration officials also started court proceedings to kick him out of the country. An immigration judge first ordered his deportation in July 2002, which was upheld on Tuesday.


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