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- 04-11-2012, 11:54 PM #1
North Texas family fights deportation of Pakistani
by DAVID SCHECHTER
Posted on April 11, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Updated today at 9:43 PM
Amin Mohammad broke the law and got a second chance from the U.S. government.
Mohammad left his native Pakistan 12 years ago and illegally entered the United States. "I came for a better life," he said.
While Immigration and Customs Enforcement — ICE — was monitoring Mohammad, he even disappeared for three years.
Still, ICE chose not to deport Mohammad and his life kept moving forward. He made a choice to marry an American woman, Sheri.
Did he marry so he could stay in the U.S.? "No, no," Mohammad said. "That wasn't even an issue. I would have married her still even without the paper."
"No, it's definitely love," Sheri added. “He would, any day, put our needs above his. Any day.
In fact, the government agrees their marriage is legitimate.
Then Amin and Sheri made another choice to have a child, now their three-year-old son, Naveed.
Last summer, the director of ICE issued what's called the "Morton Memo." It says the agency should essentially keep families like the Mohammads together, when possible.
It's called "prosecutorial discretion," shifting scarce deportation resources away from people like Mohammad and toward people who are a threat to national security and public safety.
"I would go so far, as a board-certified immigration lawyer practicing on a daily basis for the last 28 years, that the ICE people are consciously disregarding that memo," said Josh Turin, Mohammad’s lawyer.
Sixteen months ago, Turin said, ICE's top lawyer in Dallas agreed to a legal action that would allow the Mohammads to stay together in the United States.
"Oh my gosh, we were so excited," Sheri Mohammad said.
But eight months later, ICE changed its mind, deciding — finally — Amin Mohammad must be deported.
"There's finally a ray of hope. We're finally almost there. And then they mess ours up. Why? What have we done to them?" Sheri Mohammad asked.
ICE told Mohammad's attorney that Amin turned in his Pakistani passport well after agents asked for it. That, they say, was an effort to obstruct ICE's previous efforts to remove him from the country.
On the other hand, Amin Mohammad said he has not had the passport in his possession since 1999, when, he says, ICE confiscated it.
Regardless, his attorney says ICE had all of that information when it cut the deal.
ICE's reversal changes everything for U.S. citizens Sheri and young Naveed Mohammad.
"There's no way I'm going over there. I'm Pentecostal and white," Sheri said. "I don't speak the language. And they don't care. They don't care that it's breaking up a family.
For privacy reasons, ICE declined to talk about this specific case. But we asked them if they're living up to the spirit of the Morton Memo, and they issued this statement:
"ICE decisions are fully consistent with the prosecutorial discretion standards set forth by ICE Director John Morton. These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and after a careful review of all the facts."
But attorney Turin disagrees. "The question is, as a matter of policy, why should our government want an American citizen who is three years old to probably not see his father again until he's 14?" he asked.
Still, Mohammad made choices in life knowing he was not allowed to stay here. He chose to marry an American woman and they chose to have an American child.
The question now is this: Does the son deserve to be punished for the sins of his father?
North Texas family fights deportation of Pakistani | wfaa.com Dallas - Fort WorthWe have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.