Nadia is a junior honor roll student at SBU.
The funny thing about the photo of her above is that it was
taken while she was doing the photography for JHALAK 2011,
the annual Bengalis Unite (BU) cultural show. She wasn't
covering the show for BU, she was doing it because she
wanted to see You Tube sensation Jus Reign, and she figured
going to the show might give her the opportunity to try to
reconnect with her Bengali culture.
Nadia had gone to a BU meeting during her freshman year but
hadn't joined because she felt so out of place. Although she
was born in Bangladesh, she hadn't been in the country of
her birth since she was 18 months old. Her parents had
wanted her to be like everyone else so she grew up speaking
English, knowing just some smatterings of Bengali, living the
life of a typical American kid. She felt ignorant among the
BU students because when it came to the country of her
birth, she was pretty clueless.
I remember her excitement when she got a ticket to Bruno
Mars, the #1 ranked American pop star performing at SB last
spring. High pitched, jumping up and down, excitedly
screaming, "I can't believe I'm going. I can't believe I'm
going. Bruno Mars. I'm going to see Bruno Mars. I'm so
excited. I can't believe I'm going to see Bruno Mars! I'm so
excited." I think she said "I'm so excited" about a hundred
times that day.
Now, less than two years after feeling out of
place at that BU meeting, the only country she really knows
wants to send her back to what to her is a foreign country.
Why? Although her father had his green card when she came
here, due to an immigration judge's clerical error, she and
her mother don't have theirs. Although her parents
have been dealing with Immigration about the problem for 11
years now, INS is simply saying "oh well, too late." Not
wanting to worry her, Nadia's parents didn't tell her she
was still undocumented until she was a senior in high
school applying to colleges.
Although President Obama has said the INS should hold off on
deporting Dream Act students, the INS has said the rules are
not in place yet and the old rules still apply. Nadia and
her mother have already been told - come to the hearing with
50 pounds of your belongings already packed and ready to go.
So on Thursday at 11am, unless all of the
phone calls and petition signatures her friends and fellow
students are gathering for her work; unless SB University's
appeal, through Tonjonita Johnson, the Deputy to the
President, works; unless the special immigration specialist
provided for her by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand works -
another immigration judge could make another mistake and
decide to send her back.
Does it make any sense to send this well educated, bright
young woman who is American in every way save the paperwork
that says she is a citizen back to a country that is as
foreign to her as any other country in the world except the
one she calls home?
Last year we wrote articles about the Dream Act and another
SB student fearful of the same thing happening to her.
Nadia's father came from a wealthy landowning family in Bangladesh,
but wealth doesn't protect anyone in a country where
politics and violence are inseparable. College educated, he
chose freedom, the freedom to drive a taxicab in NYC. The father of the undocumented student we wrote
about last year had been a college educated journalist in
China, jailed during the Cultural Revolution for writing
against the policies of the government. He gave up his profession to work
in a Chinese restaurant in NYC.
Does anyone see a pattern there? Both sets of parents are the best kind of
immigrants America could have. They didn't come because they
thought the streets were paved with gold. They came to give
their children the hope and freedom their country couldn't.
Unlike many native born Americans who don't even know what
is in the First Amendment, those parents truly understood
and believe in the American ideals of our Bill of Rights.
2nd STEP 1st
THING MON MORNING
CALL DHS and ICE
1. Call DHS – Janet Napolitano @ 202 282 8495
2. Call ICE – John Morton @ 202 732 3000
Here is Nadia talking about her ordeal and being scared.
Below are articles about the Dream Act and Nadia.
by Ja Young
Alumni Editor, AA E-Zine
25 Sept 2011