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Palestinian Refugees and Children from Dallas Area Held in Taylor Detainment Camp
Activists Call for Release of All Children

IMC Newswire | January 12, 2007

Some of the children and a pregnant woman being held in an immigration jail in Texas are Palestinian refugees whose families came to the USA with visas, says a Dallas lawyer.

Immigration attorney John Wheat Gibson represents two families that include a pregnant woman and children ages 2, 3, 5, 12, 14, and 17. The families have been incarcerated since their midnight arrests in early November by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"The children, imprisoned with their mothers, have never been accused of any wrongdoing. Neither have their mothers," says Gibson. "All are Palestinian refugees who entered the U.S. legally, but have been denied asylum."

The fathers were separated from their families, the two-year-old was placed into foster care, and the remaining women and children were sent to the privatized Hutto jail in Taylor, Texas. The education of the school-aged children has been interrupted.

In an affidavit supplied by Gibson, one of the fathers, Adel Said Suleiman, says that he was identified as a refugee by the United Nations before coming to the USA in 1995. He claims that his immigration status has been mishandled by others, but that he has never been accused of any crimes or wrongdoings.

Suleiman's wife, Asma Quddoura, is in the Hutto jail with their son, Ayman, a 17-year-old senior at Arlington's James Bowie High School. Attorney Gibson, who now represents Suleiman, says his client was not provided with due notice of a deportation order.

Suleiman, a diabetic, sits in a chilly cell at the Garvin County Jail, Oklahoma, where the stink from an overflowing toilet "is horrible."

"There is another diabetic, here, too," says the Suleiman affidavit. "The guards bring us evening medication late, after supper, although it should be taken with food. The food served here is dangerous to diabetics, because it is sweet. I asked them to leave the sugar out of my oatmeal, but they refused. I take medication in the morning and because I cannot take it with food my blood sugar is very low."

The second father, Salaheddin Ibrahim, was also separated from his family, including his pregnant wife, Hanan Ahmad. Four of the Ibrahim children--Hamzeh, 14; Rodaina, 12; Maryam, 5; and Faten, 3--are incarcerated with their mother. A two-year-old daughter was placed in foster care. Ibrahim was sent to another Texas jail in Haskell.

At one point, says Gibson, Amad's children "became hysterical when guards wrapped her in wrist and leg chains to take her to the hospital."

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