By John Wheat Gibson
December 15, 2006
The children of the Ibrahim family, 3, 5, 12, and 14 have been in prison in Taylor, Texas in the “T. Don Hutto Residential Center,” since November 3, 2006,when their mother and father were arrested in a midnight raid on their home in Dallas by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The three oldest children are enrolled in school, but have been unable to attend while in prison. The BICE took the 2-year-old daughter away from her mother and siblings, and placed her in a foster home.
A midnight raid by the BICE also landed a 17-year-old senior at Bowie High School, in Arlington, Texas in the prison, spoiling his senior year and destroying his hopes of graduation.
The children, imprisoned with their mothers, have never been accused of any wrongdoing. Neither have their mothers. All are Palestinian refugees who entered the U.S. legally, but have been denied asylum.
The Ibrahim children, Hamzeh, 14, Rodaina, 12, Maryam, 5, and Faten, 3, are the children of Salaheddin Ibrahim and Hanan Ahmad. Mr. Ibrahim is in the jail at Haskell, Texas.
Ayman Suleiman is imprisoned with his mother Asma Quddoura. His father Adel Suleiman is in the Garvin County Jail in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.
Hanan Ahmad is a few weeks pregnant. Her children became hysterical when guards wrapped her in wrist and leg chains to take her to the hospital.
Their attorney, John Wheat Gibson, said, “There is no legitimate reason for the detention of the children, even though a Department of Homeland Stupidity press release accuses them of being ‘fugitives’ and ‘criminals.’ In fact, they are neither, and their parents always kept the Department informed of their current address.”
Gibson described the roundup of the families November 3 as “Chertoff’s publicity stunt.” He said the purpose was “to make it appear that 1) the Muslims among us are our enemies but 2) the DHS is protecting us, and therefore 3) we should not mind shredding the Constitution.”
The Suleiman and Ibrahim families had been ordered deported, but had never received the customary notice to report for deportation. If they had, Gibson said, they would have worked out through their attorneys arrangements with the government for the children to finish the school year and then to depart at their own expense.”
“Compare the treatment of the Colombian wife of Georga State Senator Curt B. Thompson last week,” Gibson said.
“She also was under a final order of deportation, but the DHS did not detain her, even though, unlike my clients, she had been hiding from them since November 28, according to Brenda Goodman, writing in the New York Times, December 6.”
While the four Ibrahim children and their mother are in prison in Taylor, the 2-year-old daughter is in foster care because she was born in the U.S. The DHS would not allow her to remain with her mother and siblings.
“Two months is a long time for a 2-year-old baby to be torn away from her mother–especially for no reason other than a cynical political publicity stunt,” Gibson said.