Oct. 11, by Nathaly Pesantez
Bablu Sharif, the Sunnyside man whose two teenage daughters begged President Trump to stop his deportation yesterday, was deported today.
Sharif, a Bangladeshi immigrant who lived in the United States since 1992 and worked as an Uber driver, was deported after being detained by ICE since June. Ten other men from New York were also deported today.
“To deport those brothers is to deprive those American families of a father, a husband, and the only source of viable living,” said Mazeda Uddin, president of the South Asian Fund for Education, Scholarship and Training, who worked closely with the Sharif family in trying to prevent his deportation.
Sharif had a standing deportation order against him since 1999 after overstaying his visa, but has had an order of supervision since 2013.
Uddin said she contacted multiple elected officials to help with Sharif’s situation, but to no avail. “Our help did not work because our elected members did not count our voice,” Uddin said. “We were not able to keep these families together and keep these hard working brothers in America where they belong.”
Uddin was devastated as she spoke through sobs over the phone. “I could not help them,” she said. Uddin could not bring herself to talk to Sharif’s daughters and wife today, as she felt she failed the family. “Why don’t our voices count?” Uddin said.
Ali Najmi, a lawyer and member of the Alliance of South Asian American Labor who helped the Sharif family in organizing, said the family notified him this morning after they received information from the detention center in Arizona where Bablu was held.
“It’s a very tough moment for them,” Najmi said as he spoke of Sharif’s family. “I’m thinking of all the families in Queens who have to go through this.”
Najmi said Sharif’s story puts Trump’s policies into question, especially since Sharif had his deportation deferred during the prior administration.
“This is a real shocking moment for the family and the entire immigrant community of Queens,” Najmi said. “Families are nervous about this, and we need actual immigration reform. We need the president to show compassion.”
A press conference held on Oct. 10 in Jackson Heights saw Sharif’s two teenage daughters, Simran, 18, and Samiha, 14, make an emotional plea to stop their father from being sent back to Bangladesh.
“Who will take care of us if our father is deported?” said Samiha at yesterday’s press conference. “We are surviving with the help of some friends. Now, if my dad is deported, I don’t know how I’m going to survive. I don’t know how my future will look.”
Ferdousha, a homemaker and mother of the two, said the toll of her husband’s situation weighed heavily on their two daughters as they started the school year.
Sharif lived in Sunnyside with his family, and was detained by ICE in June and held in a detention center in Florence, AZ, after attempting to renew a work permit with the Enforcement or Removal Operations office. Sharif had no criminal record.