Stop Unjust Detention, Release the Hashmis



Dr. Waheed Hashmi and Ms. Nusrat Hashmi, long-time residents of Toledo, Ohio, were arrested and locked up by ICE despite the fact that they are elderly, in poor health, and were making arrangements to depart the U.S.


On Tuesday, April 29th, 2008, Dr. Waheed Hashmi and Ms. Nusrat Hashmi were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, transported to the Cleveland ICE headquarters and then to the Maple Heights City Jail. They were told that they were on a final order of deportation and would be sent to Pakistan as soon as their papers were processed.  


If the authorities had taken the time to explore the details of the Hashmis' case, they would have learned that after Dr. Hashmi retired from the University of Toledo, the couple began the process of selling their home and leaving for Pakistan where a job was waiting for Dr. Hashmi. They were never given the chance to prove that they were in the process of returning to Pakistan.  Instead, public resources were used to lock up this elderly couple who posed absolutely no threat or risk of flight.

At the Maple Heights City Jail, Dr. and Ms. Hashmi are being held in separate quarters, are unable to see each other, and their interaction with their children has been severely restricted--they have been allowed only 20-minute visitations during which they can only speak with their children via a telephone and across a glass screen. The trauma of the detention threatens the health of Dr. and Ms. Hashmi--both of whom have serious health problems.

About the Hashmis

Dr. Waheed Hashmi legally entered the United States in 1973 as a Fulbright Scholar. Since then, he has worked with the Immigration and Naturalization Service and with immigration attorneys to ensure that he and his family have a chance to attain permanent residency in the United States.

Over a period of approximately 35 years Dr. Hashmi, a scientist, and Ms. Nusrat Hashmi, a floral designer, have lovingly raised their children, held jobs, paid taxes, contributed towards social security, and invested their time and talents to build a better Toledo community.Due to a series of circumstances and occurrences beyond their control, including oversights on the part of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, some of which were revealed in documents obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request, the Hashmis have faced several obstacles to attaining permanent residency but they never gave up hope of achieving what all immigrants want--a decent life for themselves and their children.

Sign on to the letter asking that the Hashmis be immediately released from jail
. 

Julie Myers
Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Department of Homeland Security
425 I St. NW
Washington, DC 20536


Dear Julie Myers:


On Tuesday, April 29th, 2008, Dr. Waheed Hashmi and Ms. Nusrat Hashmi were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, who had arrived on their doorstep without warning.  They were transported to the Cleveland ICE headquarters and then to the Maple Heights City Jail.  They were told that they were on a final order of deportation and would be sent to Pakistan as soon as their papers were processed.


If ICE had taken the time to explore the details of the Hashmis' case, it would have learned that after Dr. Hashmi retired from the University of Toledo, the couple began the process of selling their home and leaving for Pakistan where a job was waiting for Dr. Hashmi.  The Hashmis were not given the chance to prove that they were in the process of returning to Pakistan.  Instead, public resources were used to lock up this elderly couple who posed absolutely no threat or risk of flight.  The trauma of the detention threatens the health and wellbeing of Dr. and Ms. Hashmi--both of whom have serious health problems. 


It is simply inhumane to hold two elderly people in custody for no good reason, especially when they were voluntarily planning to depart the U.S.  The Hashmi detention is a colossal waste of precious tax dollars and does not make us any safer.  ICE should lock up those who would do us harm, not senior citizens whose misfortune has brought them into the grip of a dysfunctional immigration system.  ICE needs to do the right thing and release Dr. and Ms. Hashmi.


The Hashmis need to go home and be given enough time so that they can pack their belongings, sell their home, wish their children goodbye and leave.


We the undersigned members of the Toledo community, as well as people around the country and the world are outraged at the manner in which Dr. and Ms. Hashmi's case has been handled.  We ask that ICE do the right thing and immediately release Dr. and Ms. Hashmi

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