Support a Queens Family in Deportation Proceedings for Traffic Violation
At Faith in New York, we have been working to support a number of families who have been placed in deportation proceedings in the past year. One such family, the Qaiser family, lives in Astoria, Queens. With the support of Faith in New York, the Qaiser family was able to meet with Mayor de Blasio at a Faith Over Fear meeting with the Mayor, and have been connected to legal representation and resources via the city of New York.
Despite, the family is confronting daily uncertainties and challenges as they await a lengthy process in applying for political asylum. Here is their story:
“I feel honored being allowed to share about me, my family and my case. I have to leave my country Pakistan in 2006. I entered the US on a visa with my wife and son, who was 5 at the time. We rented an apartment in Astoria and since then we are still living in the same place. We overstayed our visa but have remained in the US since then. During this period from 2006 to 2017, so many good good things happened to my family.
My son has grown up and is in the 11th grade at specialized High School. He has been an honor student from 6th grade to today and was awarded Educational Excellence Award from President Obama in grades 6th through 8th. He has been an Honor Student from Grade 6 until today and a proud member of the United State Junior Honor Society. He is striving hard to become a surgeon and he has been regularly doing community work with Urban Reach NGO and South Asian Community Center, New York. He is an applicant for the DACA program.
My daughter was born in 2008, a USA citizen by birth, and is now enrolled under New York Gifted and Talented Program. She is in 4th grade today.
My wife has done a lot of community work in the past and is presently trying to pass her high school equivalency tests and look forward to a bright future and be a useful citizen for the community and the country.
I have received my college degree with a focus on Physics, Chemistry, and Math from my country of Pakistan. My professional career revolves around marketing, imports, and exports, shipping of products from one country to another. However, I could not get a job equivalent to my education or career after my work permit expired. Because of that, I have been struggling with jobs like working at gas stations or candy stores, have been paid cash much under the legally permissible wages in trying to support my family to survive.
I even have filed my taxes regularly from my small earning. I have paid all taxes when shopping, eating out, and through sales tax. I have even been donating a small amount on regular basis to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
However, earlier this year, something very bad happened to me and my family. I had saved some money from my hard earnings to reward my family for their hard work in school by taking them on a vacation trip during summer to Niagara Falls. While driving in Buffalo, my GPS erroneously directed me to a road that led to a border crossing. There I was pulled over by Customs and Border Patrol officers for having an expired visa. My wife and children were released, while I was brought to a local immigration detention center. After a few days, I was bonded out by a true angel, a Pastor who flew from New Mexico to Buffalo to help me and my family.
Because of this incident, and despite never having committed any crimes, me and my wife are under removal proceedings, which could lead to our deportation from this country. We are awaiting our first date in court.
In addition to this nerve wracking situation, I also have the challenge of financial hardship. As this process has unfolded in the past few months, I have not had any job. The financial hardships have actually broken my heart and will. I have tried my level best by approaching stores, gas stations and other petty outlets seeking a job to maintain my family and pay the bills, but failed miserably in the absence of the work permit.
The financial stress of rent and bills is amplified by a chronic medical condition that my wife has, which requires her to undergo regular medical treatment and have an on-going prescription for medicine. Without insurance, we must pay for these treatments and medicine out of pocket or risk serious illness or death. The medicine alone has cost our family more than $14,200 in the last two years and it is a regular expenses that cannot be avoided. One month supply costs $600.00, plus six monthly Specialist Consultation fees, Once in two years Colonoscopy with Specialist and Anesthetist’s fees plus Operation room charges. She has to take special diet and there is no recovery chances as it goes with life.
As a family, we are grateful for legal assistance, prayer and support that has already been offered. We know that we are just one of thousands of families who are facing this same challenge in our city and in our country. We have many years of waiting for our case to proceed, but in the meantime, we do hope that you or your congregation may find any work that we may be able to do to help support our family.
Thanks for your prayers and blessings.
Imran Qaiser and family”