New Haven Woman Supported By Protesters, Family Ahead Of Federal Removal Order

Aug 21, 2018

A New Haven woman is scheduled to be deported to her native Bangladesh this Thursday. On Tuesday, she made it to Hartford for her final check-in with immigration officials.

As Salma SIkander left the hearing, supporters rallying against Immigration and Customs Enforcement policies, shouted “keep Salma home.”

Her family is hoping for an emergency stay so that she won’t have to leave her husband and son Samir Mahmud behind. Sikander struggled to find words to describe how she was feeling before her son stepped in.

“She really tears up,” Mahmud said. “That’s why she can’t speak that much but she just says that her heart is broken that she stayed here for so long that she has to leave potentially after 20 years and that she’s not even going to see me fulfill my first day of college.”

Mahmud starts college at Quinnipiac University four days after the scheduled deportation.

“He’s never been without her and he’s a first-generation college student,” said Charla Nich, who organized the rally.

“His parents both work at McDonald’s,” Nich said. “It’s been there dream to send him off to college. This is senseless. It’s cruel. It’s just like any other ICE separation -- there’s absolutely no reason. She is no threat to homeland security.”

A spokesman for ICE said that Sikander has overstayed the requirements of her visa by at least 18 years and that she has exhausted multiple appeals. 

“Sikandar was given an upcoming date by which she must comply with the immigration judge’s final order of removal,” said John Mohan. “She currently has another appeal pending with the Board of Immigration Appeals, which ICE is monitoring prior to her upcoming scheduled removal date.”

Members of Sikander’s family, joined by supporters, are engaging in a hunger-strike outside of the Hartford Immigration Court and plan on staying there until Sikander is granted a stay.