The New York Times says the Obama administration is not deporting college students. But Texas has not yet forgotten the case of Saad Nabeel.
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
"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
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
"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
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
"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
Greg Moses is a member of the Texss Civil Rights Collaborative and editor of The Texas Civil Rights Review. He writes about peace and Texas, but not always at the same time.