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American Muslim

Dawn, Pakistan July 4, 2003

Teenaged Pakistani brothers face deportation

By Our Correspondent

SAN FRANCISCO, July 3: Two teenaged Pakistani brothers, Hassan and Ahmad Amin, face deportation for a minor visa violation, their mother told a news conference on Thursday.

Tahira Manzur told newsmen that on Feb 10, 2003, she went with her sons to the San Jose INS office for the special registration procedure as their attorney had advised the family that they were here legally as their petition for green card was pending with the immigration authorities.

The officers at the San Jose INS office arrested Hassan, 19, and also accused Ahmad Amin, 17, of some minor visa violation. Hassan was taken to the Yuba City jail and released next day when his elder brother filled out a $4,000 bond to bail him out.

"They are now under the deportation proceedings," Tahira told the news conference that was called by the Pakistan American Alliance, the American Muslim Voice and the American Civil Liberties Union to highlight the plight of her family.

"With the deportation process, my family will be separated again. I don't know what the future holds for me," said Hassan, a De Anza College student. "I will have wasted years at college." Ahmad Amin said he has to skip school once every three weeks to sign a form at the immigration office declaring he remains in the country.

Immigrant and civil rights advocates say the government is punishing the Hassan brothers and some 13,000 other people who complied with the registration programme by seeking to deport them for highly technical immigration violations.

"People who otherwise would not have been targeted are being targeted," said Ms Samina Faheem, executive director of the Pakistan American Alliance. "We're talking about minor violations here. These are people who came here to voluntarily comply, and they were swept into selective enforcement."

"Special registration has created havoc in my community. Honest, hard-working people have been treated as common criminals," said Ms Samina Faheem, who is also the coordinator of the only nationwide 24 hours hot line to help those affected by the INS special registration. "I get calls from concerned parents who are terrified when they don't hear from their children."

Ms Samina Faheem said another Pakistani student, Yashar Haider, chose to leave the US voluntarily this week to escape deportation. INS officials had accused him of overstaying in US for 20 days. Yashar Haider went for special registration on Feb 3, 2003, and detained by the immigration authorities for three days before releasing him on bail. Yashar's lawyer, who accompanied him, had assured him that he was under proper immigration status according to the immigration laws.