No Light in August for Texas Refugees

An infant girl who was nearly born into a Texas immigration prison has been ordered deported to the same occupied Palestinian territories where her older sister suffered gas poisoning during an Israeli assault on the family home in 2000.

The deportation order will be appealed, says family attorney John Wheat Gibson.

The baby girl was born to Hanan Ibrahim since the pregnant woman was released from the T. Don Hutto immigration prison in early February. Hanan, her husband Salah, and four of their children – ages 5 to 15 – received global attention when they were impounded for three months in Texas immigration prisons for the crime of not vacating to countries that would not take them. During the family’s imprisonment, a fifth child was placed into foster care with her uncle Ahmad.

“Faith of Ibrahim Redeemed” said the headline celebrating the family’s miraculous release in early February after they were granted a motion to re-open their deportation trial.

But that re-opened trial in early August has now tossed the family back into the position of having no land to welcome them — not even the USA where two of the girls have been born.

The timing of the family’s treatment by USA authorities appears to coincide with an agenda of propaganda. They were arrested to headlines and a press release in early November, the weekend before the national elections. Hanan and the four children were hastily released from the Hutto prison, just one week before a scheduled media tour of the facility. And the new trial for the family was steadily pushed back into the August news hole.

According to legal briefs filed in the family’s behalf, the young Ibrahim girls, while in the USA prison, were known to “sob uncontrollably on a near-daily basis, complain of nightmares, and exhibit symptoms of psychological traumatization.”

“Maryam Ibrahim was about two years old in 2000 when a gas canister crashed into her Palestinian home, rendering her unconscious for lack of breath,” reported the Texas Civil Rights Review in January. “Pleading to USA authorities for asylum in 2002, Maryam’s father Salah testified that his little girl was fearful of people in uniform.”

Here is an interview conducted via email this week with Ibrahim family attorney (and occasional CounterPunch contributor) John Wheat Gibson:

GREG MOSES: At last week’s trial before the immigration judge in Dallas, what arguments did you make in behalf of the Ibrahim family’s right to remain in the USA?

John Wheat Gibson: We argued that Israel continues to steal land and murder Palestinians simply because they are not Jewish. We pointed out the 59 Palestinian mothers who have been forced to give birth at check points because the Zionist thugs would not allow them to proceed to the hospital. We also argued that it was unfair for the immigration judge to allow the government to put into evidence all of its documents on the day of trial, when the rules require that they be submitted and served on the opposing side at least 10 business days before the trial.

Moses: What reasons did the judge give for ordering the Ibrahim family deported?

Gibson: The immigration judge said Israel does not abuse human rights and that Fatah will protect the rights of the Palestinians in the West Bank. He said punishment by Hamas for refusing to give money to Hamas because of political disagreement with Hamas would not be persecution on account of political opinion. The immigration judge was just following orders. He is no Himmler; he is a measley Eichmann.

Moses: Last time the family was ordered deported to “Palestine” there was difficulty securing travel permission from Israel. Is there any reason to think that Israel will change its policy toward returning Palestinians?

Gibson: Israel is more brutal and racist than ever. After going to so much trouble since 1947 to exterminate and expel the Palestinians so the Master Race can settle on their land, why would the Israelis allow them to return?

Moses: Where does this ruling leave the family? What can they expect from immigration authorities in the coming months?

Gibson: Appeal has been filed to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Moses: Is there anything our readers can do to help the family?

Gibson: Send letters to editors and to Chief Immigration Judge complaining about racist policy of denying asylum to Palestinians simply to avoid embarrassing the Jewish supremacist governments of Israel, the UK, and the US. Law and facts, not AIPAC, JINSA, WINEP, et al, should have some influence on trial results. In the United States today Muslims get the same treatment in the courts that Jews got in the courts of Nazi Germany. This case is a perfect example. Your readers should rally to the resistance instead of goose-stepping to Armageddon behind the Furher and his Chosen Race.

Moses: When Hanan Ibrahim was impounded by immigration authorities during a pre-election raid last November, she was pregnant. Can you tell us, how is the new baby?

Gibson: Healthy girl, which God’s Chosen People will kill when the Gestapo sends her back to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as they have killed so many other little girls, whom they view as racially inferior.

Note: The Chief Immigration Judge can be reached at:

David L. Neal
Office of the Chief Immigration Judge
5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 2500
Falls Church, VA 22041
(703) 305-1247

GREG MOSES is editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. He can be reached at


Greg Moses writes about peace and Texas, but not always at the same time. He is author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. As editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review he has written about racism faced by Black agriculturalists in Texas. Moses is a member of the Texas Civil Rights Collaborative. He can be reached at