Jordan deportation approved —despite torture claim

In a decision dated April 7 and released on April 11, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ruled that Southern California Muslim community leader Abdel-Jabbar Hamdan can be removed to Jordan, partially reversing a Feb. 12, 2005 ruling by immigration judge D.D. Sitgraves that Hamdan might be tortured there. The BIA upheld Sitgraves’ denial of asylum but found that the torture claim was based on insufficient evidence. Hamdan’s lawyers will take the case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals; meanwhile, the ACLU is pursuing a habeas lawsuit to release him from detention. Hamdan, who is Palestinian, has been living in the US for over 25 years and has six US-born children. He was arrested July 27, 2004, on an immigration violation; authorities have never charged him with a crime, but claim he supported terrorism in his paid job as a fundraiser for the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation (Los Angeles Times, April 12)

On April 10, Hamdan’s lawyers and the government made additional arguments in the habeas case. Hamdan is now waiting for the district court to rule on whether he should be freed while his immigration case is appealed to the 9th Circuit. (Islamic Shura Council of Southern California Community Update, Spril 26) Hamdan’s attorneys and family are asking supporters to send letters demanding his release to John P. Torres, head of ICE Detention and Removal Operations. (

From Immigration News Briefs, June 18

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See our last posts on the immigration crackdown and on Jordan.