RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A family fighting to keep their father in the United States had the backing of about 100 others outside the Wake County Justice Center on Wednesday.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Mosa Hamadessa outside his Raleigh home Thursday. Hamadeesa came to the United States on a tourist visa about 10 years ago, but sought asylum and stayed in the country, working as a mechanic. He has four children, three of whom were born in America.
ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox said a federal immigration judge issued a final order of removal in August 2013. Cox said Hamadeesa’s “subsequent appeals were rejected by the courts. Mr. Hamadeesa has received all appropriate legal process before the federal immigration courts and is subject to removal from the United States in accordance with federal law and judicial order.”
A mostly Muslim crowd, along with white, black, and Hispanic allies, gathered Wednesday to call for the support of immigration officials and Congressman David Price to release Hamadeesa from the Georgia prison where he awaits deportation.
The biggest message came from the smallest speaker, 9-year-old Nadine Hamadeesa. She receives ongoing treatment at Duke Health for tumors due to a rare disorder.
“My father was detained by ICE because he came to this country illegally,” she said while wiping tears from her eyes. “My dad is an amazing father and did everything he could to help us.”
Her oncologist wrote a letter to immigration agents which said Hamadeesa needs to remain in the country to help care for his daughter. Dr. William Eward’s statement said, “If Nadine returns to the Middle East, I can assure you that she will not have access to an Orthopaedic Oncologist.”
Eward’s letter went on to add, “On a personal note, I would mention that the Hamadeesa family are exactly the kind of people that we would want to immigrate to our country.”
Friends say Hamadeesa always paid his taxes and wants to be a legal immigrant.
“Our ability to come together is very important, to testify to the greatness of the family. Honestly, it breaks my heart that Nadine has to be in a position to where she’s over here beseeching others on the importance of keeping her father with her at home,” Farris Barakat said.
“America, you should be ashamed of yourselves to be in a position to where we have no decency left, to where we cannot. … ICE said they’re not going to look at certain demographics or certain groups, or kind of differentiate anymore. But that literally means that we’re turning a blind eye to the kids that need them.”
Immigration activists and members of Muslims for Social Justice are collecting petition signatures requesting Hamadeesa’s release and asylum for the family.