Queens college student facing deportation gets reprieve as immigration officials review case

New York Daily News
The New York City Local

Erica Pearson AND Helen Kennedy, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

A Queens teen facing immediate deportation to Bangladesh got a last-minute reprieve Thursday - one day before her 20th birthday.

"This is a great birthday present," said Nadia Habib of Woodside, a Stony Brook University junior and a Bronx High School of Science grad.

"It's somewhat a victory - we have her for one more day," said Tania Mattos of the New York State Youth Leadership Coalition, a group of undocumented youth that led the campaign for Habib to stay.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement put a temporary stop to the deportation after meeting with the family, whose cause has been taken up by hundreds of supporters.

"We haven't been given a real decision yet," Habib said. "We still have a lot of waiting and hoping to do."

Habib and her mom, Nazmin, were to have been deported at 11:30 a.m., leaving behind her cabbie dad, Jawad, who has a green card, and her three siblings, who were born here and are U.S. citizens.

Habib came to the United States at 20 months old on a tourist visa. She has lived in New York all her life.

Her father says immigration lawyers failed to get proper documentation for his wife and oldest daughter.

At the meeting, ICE New York field director Christopher Shanahan told the Habibs they will consider the pair's bid to stay - and that they consider it a priority.

Until a decision is made, they can't leave the state - they were fingerprinted and turned in passports.

Lawyer Aygul Charles said ICE agreed to put the Habibs under supervision while they review the case.

"They cannot leave the state until the decision is made," Mattos said. "They were so relieved and shaken up."

Nadia and her mom got the order to leave on Sept. 10. They were supposed to go to Bangladesh - a country Nadia doesn't know - and allowed to take away with them just one piece of luggage each.

While the Habibs met with the feds for over an hour Thursday, hundreds of friends, family and other undocumented students rallied outside, chanting "let her stay!" and "education, not deportation!"

"They're not criminals, they're heroes. And we're not going to stand by and watch them be deported," said Mattos.

Fellow Stony Brook student Hana Rugova, 20, from the Bronx, came to support Habib.

"I can't imagine it - it doesn't make sense. Or I guess for someone it does, but it's not right."


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