by Greg Moses
Dallas real estate developer and immigrant rights advocate Ralph Isenberg bought tickets to a Monday night fundraiser with President Barack Obama so that he can plead the case of a young deportee from Texas.
Isenberg has been working for several months to secure the return of 19-year-old Saad Nabeel who was deported to Bangladesh with his parents in late 2009. The younger Nabeel had lived in the USA since age three, completing grades six through twelve in Texas. When he was deported at age 18, Nabeel was studying electrical engineering on full scholarship at the University of Texas at Arlington.
“I plan to tell the President that if he is looking for a poster child for someone who has been unfairly treated and who we need to do right by, then Saad Nabeel is perfect,” said Isenberg Saturday in a telephone interview with the Texas Civil Rights Review.
“There are multiple legal issues that we can pursue to try to get Saad back in the country,” said Isenberg. “But the quickest solution by far would be to pass a DREAM Act that includes an amendment for young persons who have been recently deported. Other legal issues would require lengthy legal actions–and the wait would do no good to Saad.”
If adopted by Congress and signed by the President, the DREAM Act would offer citizenship options to youth who were brought to the USA by migrant parents. When Isenberg approaches the President in Nabeel’s behalf, he will also be representing the opinions of Saad’s young friends who are this week preparing their returns to college life.
“I feel like everything that has happened in the past year was unnecessary,” explains Chris Anderson, one of Nabeel’s high school friends contacted by the Texas Civil Rights Review. “Saad was brought to America by his family when he was a young child. He lived like every other American by going to school, getting a job, and spending time with his friends and family. Everything that he knew and loved was in the United States, and one day he was just uprooted from college, thrown in jail for over a month, and shipped to a foreign third world country that he has no memory of.”
Nabeel’s case has attracted media attention in Dallas and in the German magazine Der Spiegel. Other international media have shown interest in the case. Isenberg agrees with Der Spiegel that Nabeel’s campaign to return to the USA has been helped by the young man’s fluency with computer skills.
“Saad’s case is really rather compelling,” says Isenberg. “Given the discretion that is available to immigration authorities, this thing could have so easily gone the other way. My hope is that the most powerful man in the world will at least take a brief interest.”