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"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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