January 29th, 2009
09:08 AM ET

Parents of 6 face deportation

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/29/art.vert.customs.border.jpg width=292 height=320]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

"Please help us, there is no country greater than this country," is Mohammad Mohammad's plea to the American people. That's his message spoken by cell phone to me as the handyman drove from Alabama to Louisiana to pick up his wife and 18-year-old son, Imad, from an immigration detention center. Federal officials have declared all three illegal immigrants. All three, who have no passports, no traveling documents, are now worried they will be deported.

But the case gets more complicated because Mohammad and his wife, Sana Alsayed have five other children, ages 5, 6, 13, 14 and 17. They were born in the U.S. They are 5 U.S. citizens. And they could remain in the country while their oldest sibling and parents do not.

Mohammad is a Palestinian. He has been in America for 15 years. Mohammad does not understand why the country he loves would drive him out. "I pay taxes for 15 years," he implores. "And I don't have any felonies or any crimes, nothing for 15 years. We respect the law."

That doesn't change the facts. According to his attorney, Mohammad, Sana, and Imad, who was toddler at the time, left Saudi Arabia for the U.S. in 1993. After arriving on a visitor visa, the family petitioned for asylum, but were denied. If deported, Mohammad says he has no place to go to. As for the five children? Mohammad claims an immigration officer told him "don't worry about your kids. we can take care of them here."

The Birmingham News reports that a Republican congressman, Spencer Bachus, is asking for an inquiry.

The lawyer for Mohammad, Douglas Cooner, says he will file a new asylum claim, hoping a court will agree that the circumstances for the family have changed, specifically that the government had 90-days to remove them, but waited nine years before taking action.

Cooner goes one step further when talking about Imad, who before being arrested, was enrolled at a community college. "The oldest son has been here since he is two-years-old,"Cooner says. "He doesn't speak Arabic and was a star athlete in high school."

Mohammad is hopeful he will win his case and that the family of will be together, saying "I brought my kids over here because this is the best place to live in the world. This is the safest place, the safest environment, that's why I came here."

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Filed under: Gabe Falcon • Immigration • Raw Politics
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. theermans

    You do NOT reward illegal immigrants for having children.

    Illegal parents of "anchor babies" should be deported, not supported.

    Why do we have laws???

    February 25, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  2. fred bowker

    Lock the grower up for hiring illegals and the problem goes away!! Use our system, it works. Mexican tomatoes are just fine. This jerk is just exploiting cheap labor to fill his pockets. Read between the lines, and see the forest through the trees!!!

    February 25, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  3. Eric Francis

    Again i was reading the story about this unfortunate family,,,but their are things that conflict.They say that their children were born in the United State,, but they also say that they brought they children here..

    January 30, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  4. Dana Lewis

    alot of people go thru life and death situations to enter this country. anyone whom puts their life in jeopardy to come to america i say WELCOME! people are looking to improve their quality of life. the life of their children. you begrudge them of that? america is a favored nation. people look towards america for help, for a chance, for a better life. they're right. its the best place to make dreams come true. rather it be starting a business or educating your children. these people have to occupy sq. footage somewhere. why not here? we're capable. we're a nation made up of immigrants. the only true americans are the indians that occupied this land when we came over from england. the first white man in america was an immigrant. stop being selfish. open your hearts. spread goodwill. love people. love the human condition. which is extremely fragile. the people whom deserve our outrage are US citizens that are employed on wallstreet. politicians and lobbyist. look how much damage was done during the bush/cheney reign. we as a people have fewer rights now because of bush. we should oust them!

    January 30, 2009 at 8:47 am |
  5. Vernon

    We are drowning in illegal immigrants, and legal immigrants. We no longer need cheap help to build rail roads, we have machines to do most jobs. Anchor babies to me is the same as a US Citizen marring a foreigner just to get them a U S Citizenship. You can go to Federal Prison for that little trick. Why is there such an acceptance of the anchor baby Ponzi Scheme?
    Lancaster Ca.

    January 30, 2009 at 3:22 am |
  6. jmariej, California

    Unfortunately, even though this is a sad situation, it should send a message to immigrants that come to the US and do not go through the proper channels to become a citizen will not work anymore. Coming to the US starting a family in the hopes your children will justify your ability to stay just will not work any more. Years of undocumented immigrants coming to the US is part of why this country is in a mess. Even though they work, pay taxes, have children, they are STILL NOT LEGAL US CITIZENS. They receive all the benefits legal citizens receive which is not fair. As a matter of fact, immigrants can come here and receive SSI or Social Security benefits and have never paid into the system; and those of us who are legal citizens get denied. Take your children with you back to your country and get in line with others who are going through the process the correct way. Bottom line....Gotta Go....The Law is the Law. US can no longer be the foster home for immigrants.

    January 29, 2009 at 11:42 pm |
  7. Annie Kate

    They have a good record while they have been here and six children – no parent should be separated from their children except in cases of abuse. I hope they get to stay. I commend Spencer Baccus for looking into this – its the first positive thing I have ever seen him do – and he represents my district!

    January 29, 2009 at 9:33 pm |
  8. jim Fallbrook CA

    They are illegal aliens. Thereore, they broke the law and should be deported. For all I know he may be a terrorist. I can never understand why the government doesn;t enforce the immigration laws. Unfortunately, It is going to get worse. Our socialist president Barack Hussein Obama will not secure our borders and allow illegal aliens to come into this country with impunity.

    January 29, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  9. Sharon

    I did state that we need a better well oiled system as far as imigration goes so why doesn't Obama look into this?

    I did have a friend from England who came here on a visa he worked here and went through so much red tape it took him literally 7 years to get a citizneship and I am not saying that is bad nor good just the facts!

    I think we can have a way better system in place for these problems but the same thing goes with Welfare why do some people go and immediately get food stamps/welfare and others in the exact same boat get nothing?

    Not me I have worked my entire life always putting into the system and frankly my gripe is that our Social Security System is so gone that it can never recover to give back to those of us who actually worked and contributed to it simpley because they DO NOT investigate enough into illegals having SS# s of dead AMericans and are taking from the system without ever putting in!

    And did anyone know that Koreans that were in the time of the Korean war do NOT pay any taxes! It was a stipulation the US gave them if they chose to come here to live that they would never have to pay any taxes in our country???

    Research it! it is a true fact! My father was in the Navy and in War and he is retired but he still pays taxes, so why are not our soldiers or war exempt from paying taxes?
    After all they are the only reason this country is still free??? And yes I do question Free?

    Because after today's events I really think we are inslaved to our own pathetic, greedy government!

    January 29, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  10. Sharon

    This is obviously another mistake and short coming of our system! Sad and very disturbing to us as born Americans as well as those who wish to be Americans!

    I think the biggest problem is that our system is not doing their jobs or just too lazy or they just don't care? Look how many immigrants live off our Social Security System illegally and no one is taking responsibility for that either.

    This is a sad story but how did he pay taxes if he was not a legal citizen?
    I have no problem with anyone coming to our country to live and thrive I just think we should have the correct system in place to make sure they are all taking the correct routes to get here and become American and then a taxpayer and then no one would have any problems.

    I blame our poor excuse of a Government they are greedy, self centered and have ALL lost the true meaning of being an American!

    January 29, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This is a working family who pay taxes. Our Government pays people who don't work and don't want to work from this families taxes. Deport the people who show no record of any employment or paying taxes, they are the ones hurting the economy, not this family.

    January 29, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  12. Lindsay

    To all whose main issue is money, remember, IT is not everything! Life is short! We need to be able to realize the important things in life. Yes, it is painful for hard earned tax payer money to be thrown away, but in this case, i don't think it will be categorized as being thrown away. We all came from somewhere. A lot of our ancestors were illegal, or thieves or something worse. These people want a life for their children, and no love could be given to those kids, like love from their parents. It will be heartless to separate them. The only way to deal with issues like these, is to turn to our representatives. There has to be legislature that deals with the immigration crises in our country; it has to be implemented as soon as possible. We need to secure our borders, then take care of all illegal immigrants within the country (by finding some way to legalize their status), then tighten security on all those coming in, that way we can get a better handle on these ever growing crisis.

    January 29, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  13. deidre

    So Nancy what has that got to do with this man who obeyed the laws, worked and paid taxes. You got involved with a deadbeat. Are you saying they are all like that? Should we say women like you are all the same? I think you would be insulted now wouldnt you? If you own a business is this mans money any different than someone's money who is born and raised here? Hmmm dont we have deadbeats who are born and raised here? Or were you just venting about your ex husband?

    January 29, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  14. Adriana R M Atlanta,Ga

    The anger and vitriol from these comments almost burn holes in my screen. The medium is different but is not unlike the sign that used hang in store windows “No Irish or Dogs”. May I ask how many of the people who wrote these notes ancestors are Native Americans? How many left or were kicked out of their home countries? How many came in illegally i.e. To Canada then made their way down?

    I would like to ask what makes an American. Is it where you’re born? Is it based on color, creed or religion? Does it matter how we arrived? I would like to hope for myself and my children that the basis of being a United States citizen is based on how hard a person works and how much they contribute to society.

    January 29, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  15. LSB

    It seems like a lot of the people writing are forgetting an integral part of this country's fabric, and it is called COMPASSION and EMPATHY for others.

    My parents were legal immigrants to this country, and I am Jewish & zionist.

    HOWEVER, I feel that this family deserves the right to stay in the United States.

    They do not have a country to go back to, and their lives will be in danger if they return, especially the children.

    Provide them with asylum.

    January 29, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  16. Jay

    I am here in this country legally for past 6yrs as a temporary worker waiting to become a permanent resident
    – I paid thousands of dollars to take proficiency exam, application fees etc.
    – My company has paid 10s of thousands of dollars to keep me here
    – I pay my taxes in this country – never had trouble with law
    – I have a correct SSN that hasnt been stolen from someone else
    – We chose not have kids right now but we might have in the future (so i dont take any child deduction and pay property taxes that goes towards my city's school)

    If i lose my job and cant find another, i WILL be deported...

    Will Congressman Bachus and some of the people who commented above come to my defense to keep me in this country? Or do i need to produce 5 kids?

    January 29, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  17. Kelly

    When will the United States government stop allowing automatic citizenship to children born of illegal aliens living in the US?

    This family had 15 years to become lawful citizens. If their claims were denied too bad. Those are the laws.

    The US needs to stop the flow of illegal aliens in to this country and deport those that are here now. PERIOD.

    January 29, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  18. nicole

    I wonder why they were denied to stay in the first place? It is a very sad story for the children but how can you go 15 years and not ever think it will catch up with you?
    Those poor kids are going to end up suffering because of their parents mistake.
    I would hope they would get to stay due to the circumstances but I really think that it is a mistake to blame the United States for enforcing the law. These parents had a lot of time to pursue the correct course of action. I really pray that they are able to kkep them here for the sake of their children.

    January 29, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  19. Sjames

    I do feel sorry for the family...but who feels sorry for the born and bred American families that cant support their families because of whatever reason (job loss) It is sad but us Americans have to start taking care of home. We Americans cant go to another country and not follow their laws and in some countries they are very harsh (ie cutting hands off if you steal). We feed, medicate and sometimes educate people in other countries but dont show the same dedication to our own how full are the missions, how many people die because they cant afford medicines? They should have to go back to their homelands and oh yeah take their kids with them, we cant afford them here. I feel this way for EVERY illegal alien.

    January 29, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  20. elena

    Everyone wants a good life. I would get to America any way I could to get out of the country that is ravaged with violence. BUT if you get caught, you must pay the price. I believe that the childern that are born in America by parent(s) that are here illegal, should go with their parents. As parents our children suffer from our decisions. That's the parents fault. But you should not be allowed to stay because your having children. BUT, this is a waste of taxpayers money. Lets start locking up the perverts, not the lawabiding people that want refuge from violence. Admit it, all of us would do anything to get out of places like the mideast. Isn't that what America is all about? Didn't our families come over here by boat? Remember people, this land was part of Mexico. The Indians we tortured, we stoled their land and gave them dumps to live in as compensation for the wrongs we commited against them. FREEDOM. We all want it.

    January 29, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  21. Katherine

    What ever happened to "give me your tired, your hungry, your poor?"
    Don't we have any compassion any more? Does the government want to deport these people because they are here illegally or because of racial profiling? If his name were John instead of Mohammed, would we be so quick to expel him and his family? If he has managed to support and educate his children and paid taxes and worked to do this, how can we, in good conscience, toss them out of the country like yesterday's trash??? I thought America was a place that offered asylum to the downtrodden! We should be ashamed to do this to a family that has contributed to our society. Have we all become so self-righteous that we can't give this family another chance? Please don't deport them. This country needs hard working people no matter where they are from.

    January 29, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
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