While the New York Times Monday morning proclaims that the Obama administration is not deporting college students whose parents brought them to America at a young age, the President is headed toward a fundraiser in Dallas Monday night where one such case is well known.
Dallas real estate developer and immigrant rights advocate Ralph Isenberg bought tickets to the fundraiser with President Barack Obama so that he can plead for the speedy return of a young deportee from Texas. Isenberg has been working for several months to secure the return of 19-year-old Saad Nabeel who was deported to Bangladesh with his parents in early 2010.
If the New York Times is correct about what the Obama administration is trying to do, then the deportation of Saad Nabeel was a big mistake. He had lived in the USA since age three, completing grades six through twelve in Texas. When he was deported at age 18, Nabeel was studying electrical engineering on full scholarship at the University of Texas at Arlington.
“I plan to tell the President that if he is looking for a poster child for someone who has been unfairly treated and who we need to do right by, then Saad Nabeel is perfect,” said Isenberg Saturday in a telephone interview with the Texas Civil Rights Review.
“There are multiple legal issues that we can pursue to try to get Saad back in the country,” said Isenberg. “But the quickest solution by far would be to pass a DREAM Act that includes an amendment for young persons who have been recently deported. Other legal issues would require lengthy legal actions–and the wait would do no good to Saad.”
If adopted by Congress and signed by the President, the DREAM Act would offer citizenship options to youth who were brought to the USA by migrant parents. When Isenberg approaches the President in Nabeel’s behalf, he will also be representing the opinions of Saad’s young friends who are this week preparing their returns to college life.
“I feel like everything that has happened in the past year was unnecessary,” explains Chris Anderson, one of Nabeel’s high school friends contacted by the Texas Civil Rights Review. “Saad was brought to America by his family when he was a young child. He lived like every other American by going to school, getting a job, and spending time with his friends and family. Everything that he knew and loved was in the United States, and one day he was just uprooted from college, thrown in jail for over a month, and shipped to a foreign third world country that he has no memory of.”
Nabeel’s case has attracted media attention in Dallas and the German magazine Der Spiegel. Other international media have shown interest in the case. Isenberg agrees with Der Spiegel that Nabeel’s campaign to return to the USA has been helped by the young man’s fluency with computer skills.
Keeping tabs on news via computer in Bangladesh, Nabeel saw Monday’s New York Times report as soon as it hit his inbox as the morning’s top story. When asked via email what he would like to say to the President during Monday’s visit to Texas, Nabeel replied within two minutes:
“I love America and would die for my country in a heartbeat. It is the only home that I know.”
“Saad’s case is really rather compelling,” said Isenberg over the weekend.
“Given the discretion that is available to immigration authorities, this thing could have so easily gone the other way. My hope is that the most powerful man in the world will at least take a brief interest.”
GREG MOSES is editor of TexasWorker.org and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.