From the Arab American Community Coalition, Jan. 1:
The Arab American Community Coalition has just learned of an entire Palestinian family – the Ibrahims – being held in jail in Texas while waiting an unjustified deportation. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) grabbed the family of five in a Gestapo-like raid on November 3, 2006.
The Ibrahims came to the United States legally and applied for asylum. They have been honest and forthright with immigration from the beginning. They were denied asylum and have filed to reopen their asylum case. In the meantime, the family is to be deported and is being held in jail! As an American citizen, the 2-year-old daughter was ripped from her mother’s arms and is in a foster home.
The plot thickens:
To make matters worse, as Palestinian refugees from the Occupied Palestinian Territories they have no travel documents. The US government has attempted to obtain Jordanian passports for the family but the applications were denied. The family will have to languish another month in jail while ICE contacts the Israeli embassy. Even though Israel has no jurisdiction to issue travel documents to Palestinians to the Occupied Palestinian Territories , ICE insists on contacting Israel . In the past, Israel has issued illegal documents with ICE flying deportees into Tel Aviv and the deportees marched across the border to the West Bank in Palestine . It is extremely dangerous for Palestinians to enter Palestine with Israeli travel documents. The family would be marked with suspicion.
The family in jail:
The pregnant mother, Hanan Ahmad, is in one cell with her 5-year-old daughter, Fatem. The 7- and 12-year-old sisters – Maryam and Rodaina – share another cell. The 15-year-old boy, Hamzeh, is in yet another cell at T. Don Hutto jail. The father and husband, Salaheddin Ibrahim, is being held in another jail in Haskell , Texas. Born in the US , the youngest daughter, only 2-years-old, is living with strangers in a foster home.
The little 5-year-old girl, Faten, is constantly getting in trouble with the guards for not standing still during population counts, which are taken four times daily. Maryam, the 7-year-old cries for her mother at night. Maryam, Rodaina and Hamzeh have missed nearly two months of school. The children miss their father, their baby sister, other family members and friends. The pregnant mother feels sick, tired and overwhelmed. The family is separated and scared not knowing what the future holds.
Not only is this a waste of our tax dollars ($95 per person per day), it is inhumane and unjust!
What can you do?
Please contact ICE Field Office Director, Marc Jeffery Moore, @ 210-967-7175 and ask him to release the family [under supervision]. You can also contact U.S. Department of Homeland Security @ Operator Number: 202-282-8000 or Comment Line: 202-282-8495
See our last post on the immigration crackdown and Palestinians caught in the web.