|No deportation for Minhaz Kahn. But others might not be so lucky. |
A DREAM-Act-eligible recent college grad won reprieve on his deportation case earlier this week, yet the celebration ends there. San Francisco-based immigration officials warned attorneys that not all DREAM Act-eligible immigrants will enjoy the same freedom.
-- the UC-Riverside alumnus who last week had to show immigration officers that he bought a one-way ticket back to his native Bangladesh -- learned Tuesday that he doesn't have to return home just yet. He will be able to stay in the country for another three months.
Kahn credited the media, which might have helped his case after we wrote about his situation last week
. "My case officer said he had seen my article online in the SF Weekly,"
Kahn said. "He took my [ankle] bracelet off, and now I just have to do month-to-month check-ins."
The stay will give Kahn a chance to pursue a marriage-based permanent residency petition, since he married a U.S. citizen earlier this year. Still, top federal counsel told a group of American Immigration Lawyers Association
attorneys in a meeting last week that they will not automatically grant a stay for all other DREAM Act eligible immigrants who are awaiting deportation, says AILA attorney Leah Price. The group met with San Francisco's chief counsel for the Department of Homeland Security, Leslie Ungerman, and ICE field director, Craig Meyer.
"They said they don't look at categories of people, like DREAM-Act students, that they take each case as individual," Price said. "Everyone in the room was rolling their eyes at that point."
Also, the officials told the attorneys that they hadn't changed any policies after the June memo from ICE Director John Morton
who urged agents to use discretion when deciding whether to deport a wide variety of immigrants each with different circumstances, including those whose family members are U.S. citizens; those who had no criminal history; or those who had gone to school or had served in the military.
"I think people were a little surprised to hear their practice and policies haven't changed since the memo," Price told us.
In Kahn's case, he had been checking in regularly with immigration officials in Southern Calfornia after being arrested in 2009 when agents came to his house looking for his father, who'd left the country in 1995 after being denied asylum.
But upon moving to Daly City earlier this month, officials in the San Francisco office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement demanded he wear an ankle bracelet while they began deportation proceedings for the 2009 college grad.
Kahn, who graduated from UC-Riverside in neuroscience, currently works in a Palo Alto department store like many undocumented college graduates unable to even apply for a job in their field. But perhaps he could consider becoming the poster child for the zombie federal DREAM Act. At least for that position, his college degree will serve him well.