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TIMELINE: The Legal Odyssey Of Syed Jamal, The Lawrence Man ICE Wants To Deport

Courtesy of Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law
Syed Jamal in detention in El Paso, Texas, before ICE agents put him on a plane to Bangladesh.

Update Dec. 14, 2018: The timeline has been updated through Nov. 27, 2018.

In January 2018, ICE agents abruptly detained Syed Jamal in front of his home in Lawrence, Kansas. The threat of deportation made him an international cause celebre amid a Trump administration crackdown on immigrants with ambiguous immigration status.

Jamal came to Lawrence from Bangladesh more than 30 years ago on a student visa to attend the University of Kansas. He got a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s in pharmaceutical sciences. He got another visa to work at Children’s Mercy Hospital. He’s taught at several area universities, most recently at Park University and Donnelly College. Jamal’s three kids were born in the United States. They said it had been years since he'd had as much as a speeding ticket, so the raid seemed to come out of nowhere.

Jamal’s legal saga underscores the U.S. immigration system’s perils for people whose fate depends on the discretion of government officials making judgments in the context of an administration’s political priorities.


August 1987

Jamal arrives in the United States to attend University of Kansas and later Rockhurst University on a student visa.

December 2001

Jamal receives a master’s degree in biochemical pharmacology after attending the University of Missouri-Kansas City on a new student visa.

July 2002

After overstaying his visa, Jamal voluntarily departs for Bangladesh and legally reenters the U.S. three months later on a nonimmigrant H-1B visa.


Jamal works at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City on his H-1B visa.


Jamal obtains an extension of his H-1B visa, which allows him to remain in U.S. through mid-2008.


Jamal attends the University of Kansas on another student visa to pursue a degree in molecular science.

September 2008 

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials say they mistakenly approved a change of status application Jamal filed after leaving Children’s Mercy Hospital.


Jamal's brother, a U.S. citizen, files a family-based petition for Jamal that's approved in 2010. Because of visa backlogs, however, he is still not eligible to apply for permanent residence based on the petition. 


Jamal applies for employment-based permanent residency based on his education and professional skills. It's denied in 2010.


After Jamal is stopped for speeding, local police turn him over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which begins removal proceedings against him because he overstayed his visa.


An immigration judge advises him that he will have to leave the country. When the deadline passes and Jamal has not left, the court orders his removal.


ICE opts not to seek his removal. Even so, he is arrested and detained from Sept. 11, 2012, to Nov. 6, 2012. After deciding that he was neither a flight risk nor a threat to the community, the Department of Homeland Security allows him to be released under an order of supervision. That allows him to live and work in the United States as long has he periodically checks in with DHS. His most recent employment card was valid until October 2018. 

Jan. 24, 2018

ICE agents detain Jamal in front of his home as he is preparing to take his children to school. He’s initially held in jail in Versailles, Missouri, before being transferred to jail in Platte County, then a detention facility in El Paso, Texas.

Credit Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Taseen Jamal said ICE agents wouldn't let him, his mother or his siblings say goodbye to their father.

Feb. 7, 2018

Immigration judge Glen Baker grants a temporary stay of removal.

Feb. 12, 2018

Baker dissolves the temporary stay. Immigration court rulings are not typically made public, but Jamal’s attorneys say Baker ruled he didn’t have jurisdiction over the case. That’s because Jamal’s attorneys had challenged the legality of the 2011 order, which was issued by a different immigration judge. It appears Baker decided he didn’t have jurisdiction to rule on the legality of that order. Jamal’s attorneys then file an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals, which reviews immigration court decisions. The BIA issues its own stay until it can hear the case and render a decision, probably in a few weeks after briefs have been filed by both sides.

March 2018

A federal district court judge orders Jamal's release from the Platte County Jail, where he had been held in detention for 56 days. U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark said that though the government was entitled to detain Jamal for a reasonable period of time, his lack of a criminal history and his strong ties to Lawrence favored his release. 

August 2018

The Board of Immigration Appeals sends the case back to an immigrtion court, blocking Jamal's otherwise imminent deportation. 

Nov. 27, 2018

Jamal makes his first appearance in immigration court, where his trial is set for April 2022.

Dan Margolies is KCUR’s health editor. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.

Dan Margolies has been a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, and KCUR Public Radio. He retired as a reporter in December 2022 after a 37-year journalism career.
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