Wednesday, September 20, 2006

ASU student in immigration nightmare

Former Arizona State University student president Yaser Alamoodi, still a student at ASU, was arrested at 6 a.m. on September 6 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. They took him to Eloy (about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson), where he sits in a detention center.

The 29-year-old Tempe resident came to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia in 1996 under a student visa. He describes himself as "extremely secular. I was the president of my university. I have a commitment to everything America stands for, women's rights to civil rights." But because he married a U.S. citizen and they agreed to divorce in August, the divorce process invalidated his pending green card application.

And because his passport and citizenship are from Yemen, the country where his father was born but which he's never been in, that's where he will be deported to. His attorney says he can stay in detention in Eloy and fight the deportation for six months to "years," he can allow himself to be deported to Yemen and try to get a student visa to return to finish his degree, or if his wife stops the divorce process he would be allowed to stay.

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