BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Riaz Talukder, a Bangladeshi immigrant who was in jeopardy of being deported in November, was informed on Monday that the federal Board of Immigration Appeals has granted him the right to reapply for citizenship.
After frequent rallies by the Jackson Heights Immigrant Solidarity Network (JHIS)—an organization that assists people with families who are facing deportation—Talukder was granted six months’ stay in his Jamaica home on Nov. 20, right before the holiday season.
Talukder immigrated to the United States at age 13 with an uncle. However, Talukder had not known that he was not a citizen.
In 1990, Talukder qualified for the “late amnesty” program for green cards and later filed for asylum after a visit to his native country resulted in death threats from a Bangladeshi fundamentalist group.
In 1999, Talukder was issued a deportation order after a lawyer mishandled his paperwork, of which Talukder said he wasn’t aware until 2010, when he was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for seven months.
Following his release, Talukder found work as a cab driver and had been checking in with ICE every year, as he was instructed to do until his 15-year-old son turned 21 years of age and could sponsor his father for a green card.
In November, Talukder was facing deportation, but with the help of JHIS, leaders from his community and elected officials, he was granted six months’ stay. Since then, the Board of Immigration Appeals has granted him a chance at citizenship.
Talukder’s attorney, Edward Cuccia, called this case a “last-minute reversal” and said that less than 10 percent of his cases end this way.
Cuccia added that the board’s decision was influenced by the fact that Talukder has shown up to all of his required meetings, his two sons were born in the United States and his wife just had throat surgery to remove cancer.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400, ext. 144, firstname.lastname@example.org or @reporter_ariel.