By Rebecca Henely
A Sunnyside man who was being held in a detention center in New Jersey since February and set to be deported back to Bangladesh was released to his family Friday.
Mohammad Anwarul Islam, who fled to the United States in 1991 due to political reasons, lives at 42nd Street and 43rd Avenue in Sunnyside with his wife, Lipiara Begum, and three daughters: 5-year-old Afnan Fazia and 20-month-old twins Afrina Anwar Farah and Afsa Anwar Zarah.
Islam had tried to get political asylum in 2010, but it was denied and he did not follow up properly.
As a result, Islam was arrested Feb. 10 and held in the Delaney Detention Center in Essex County, N.J. While he was held for more than a month, community activists advocated for him to be released while neighbors helped Begum, who took care of the three young children by herself.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Islam’s wife, Lipiara Begum. “We are so happy and I am also happy about my daughters because they’re happy.”
Begum said her husband has a meeting with immigration officials at Federal Plaza in Manhattan next month.
Islam’s wife is a permanent resident and passed her citizenship test April 7, 2011, but had not yet taken her oath. Advocates for the family hope Islam will be able to become a citizen after his wife takes the oath.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.