Resident is Facing Deportation To Afghanisan

Resident is Facing Deportation To Afghanisan
Posted by FoM on January 23, 2002 at 14:06:12 PT
By Brenda Ingersoll, Wisconsin State Journal 
Source: Wisconsin State Journal 
Mirwais Ali considers himself as American as apple pie, but the U.S. government is trying to deport the 1998 East High graduate to Afghanistan because of a felony drug conviction. Ali was born in Afghanistan in 1979. When he was 1, his parents fled the violence of the Russian occupation for Madison. He has grown up here, living all that time in his parents' East Side apartment. He only speaks English. He doesn't know anyone in Afghanistan. Due to a parental misunderstanding, he never became a U.S. citizen. 
"I wouldn't even know how to ask for some food and water over there," Ali, 22, said Tuesday in a telephone interview from the DuPage County jail in Illinois, where he is being held during the deportation proceedings. "I'd need an interpreter." On Thursday, an immigration judge in Chicago is expected to decide whether Ali was selling drugs when police stopped him on State Street on Oct. 30, 1998, or whether the six, individually wrapped packets of marijuana he had were for his own use. He was convicted in Dane County of possession of marijuana with intent to sell. If Judge James Fujimoto decides Ali was guilty only of possessing marijuana, Ali's lawyer, Taher Kameli, will ask Fujimoto to cancel the deportation proceedings. If Fujimoto decides Ali was selling, the outlook is grim, Kameli said. "The only thing that may make the judge look favorably on him is the current unrest in Afghanistan," Kameli said. "Mirwais is a very nice guy. He doesn't have any anger toward the U.S. government. In fact, he said he'd be willing to fight for the U.S. government against Afghanistan and that worries me. They might think he's a spy over there." Calls to the Chicago office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service were not returned. Ali's mother, Saleha Ali, 58, became an American citizen in 1991. Ali's father, Najaf Ali, 60, has "green card" status as a resident alien. But nothing was done about citizenship for Ali. The couple, who speak little English, mistakenly thought that Saleha Ali's U.S. citizenship conferred citizenship on their son. It did not. They had expected him to be a comfort and a support to them in their old age. Both worked as cooks in their early years here. Najaf Ali, however, developed heart trouble and a subsequent stroke confines him to a wheelchair. Saleha is disabled by asthma, stomach problems and carpal tunnel syndrome. Now, their only income is Supplemental Security Income. They live in public housing, where their third-floor apartment is at the top of a dirty, trash-strewn staircase and the scent of marijuana wafts from a nearby flat. "Thank you for coming," Saleha Ali told a visitor, offering fruit and homemade bread. "I am sick about my son. Please, somebody help me." She gestured toward her husband, saying, "He's sick. I'm sick. My only son is in jail. What can I do?" During the visit, Ali called his mother from jail. "My mother told me to get citizenship, but I thought I had to be 18 and once I turned 18, I started getting in trouble with the law," Ali said by phone. "(But) I've had lots of time in an 8-by-10 cell to think about what I've done and the people I've hurt. "I used to take for granted things like being able to sit next to my mother or hold my girlfriend's hand, but I don't now." Ali's mother has taken the Greyhound bus three times to Chicago for deportation hearings. "I hate to have her see me in handcuffs," Ali said. "She thinks they're going to let me go one day, but I don't think so. I'm almost ready to sign my papers and go (to Afghanistan). At least I'll be free over there." Then again, he said, "I'd fear for my life, because I've been Americanized. They'll probably frown on me." As a youngster, Ali spent long hours at the East Madison Community Center. "The work he did here, volunteering and helping with the younger kids, was very good," said John Harmelink, youth program manager. "Then when he got into his junior and senior years, we didn't see as much of him. I guess like many kids, he had peer pressure and got into the wrong crowd. Tell his mother we're praying for him that he doesn't get sent over there." Complete Title: Nearly Lifelong Madison Resident is Facing Deportation To Afghanistan Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)Author: Brenda Ingersoll, Wisconsin State Journal Published: January 22, 2002Copyright: 2002 Wisconsin State Journal Contact: wsjopine madison.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Drug Policy Forum of Wisconsin Deportee Starts Over Adopted By U.S. Family Is Deported Can't Deport First-Time Drug Offenders
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Comment #2 posted by p4me on January 23, 2002 at 19:59:16 PT
why not life imprisonment
All you can say is that the MJ laws are many times more painful to the American people than MJ itself. The WOD is now 32 years old? How old is the War on Drug laws or has it been declared.If they want to send this guy to Afganistan for MJ, maybe Congress should be sent there to live in a cave for allowing such absurd and harsh laws. If MJ is so bad that people are imprisoned then surely the people that brought us the laws and purpetuate them are many times worse and should be shown what harshness is by sending Congress and the Puppet of the Rich to Afganistan. Send everyone in Congress home. I wish there were a way to hang some of them especially the *ssholes like Byrd and Thurmond who were there in 1970 when the Substance Abuse Act was first passed. 
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Comment #1 posted by Lehder on January 23, 2002 at 16:03:43 PT
Deporting a young man to Afghanistan for six tiny packets of mj. These officials are beyond redemption, they're inhuman.Let's deport George Bush to Afghanistan and let him report back to us on the progress of nation building. 
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