College student won't be deported to Bangladesh, for now
A college student who grew up in New York has won a temporary reprieve from immigration officials who had threatened to deport her to her native Bangladesh, which she left as an infant when her mother brought her to the United States.
Nadia Habib and her mother, Nazmin, had appeared before immigration officials Thursday with their passports and luggage ready to go after Nazmin Habib's illegal status caught up with them. Nadia, who has lived in the United States since she was 20 months old, had not realized that she was an illegal immigrant until she qualified for financial aid for college and was asked to produce identity papers.
Their cause captured the attention of immigrants' rights advocates -- not only because of Nadia's situation but because their deportation would have broken up a family that includes Nazmin Habib's husband, who has a green card, and three other children who were born in the United States.
At Thursday's hearing in Manhattan, the mother and daughter were ordered to give up their passports but told they could remain in the country while the case is reviewed further. They were not told when a final decision would be made.
"Obviously it's a roller-coaster. I'm just really grateful to be able to stay here longer," Nadia, who turned 20 on Friday, told reporters after the hearing. She was surrounded by demonstrators who chanted and waved signs demanding immigration reform so that other families don't have to go through a similar ordeal.
Immigration reform has become one of the most heated issues among the Republican presidential candidates.
The Habib case, in particular, coming amid national debate over immigration issues and particularly those that affect young people who had no control over their status when they were brought to this country, has drawn attention from local and state officials. They say it underscores the need for passage of legislation such as the Dream Act, which would help law-abiding students remain in the country until they can become legal residents. The bill remains blocked in Congress.
"The immigration system is broken and this is a great opportunity to President Obama, to Democrats and Republicans, to look at this family and say we need to do immigration reform right now," said City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, at the rally in support of the Habib family.
-- Tina Susman in New York
Photo: Nadia Habib and her mother, Nazmin, who were given a reprieve from deportation back to Bangladesh. Credit: AP Photo/WCBS-TV