Strangers and Aliens


Waheed and Nusrat Hashmi
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The Hashmis have been released!
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Our joint efforts on many fronts grassroots, legal, and political sent a powerful message to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Hashmis arrived home late Wednesday night. They are tired but relieved to be home with their daughters. They have three short weeks left in the US.

Message from Waheed and Nusrat Hashmi:

"We are so touched by the outpouring of sympathy and concern that came during our ordeal. So much love and support came from the people we know and from people we will probably never meet. It was a horrible experience but despite what was done to us, you all helped us keep our faith in humanity. We need to continue to speak out against a system that is utterly inhumane and inconsistent in its handling of immigration issues. We feel that people who are decent, honest, hard working and who obey the law should be valued, and respected, and honored%u2014not put in jail. We all need to continue to speak out against atrocities committed against innocent people. Thank you for everything!"


Date: Thu, 8 May 2008 08:36:21 -0400
To: ;
Subject: Fwd: Stop racist detention and deportation policies

From: sanjay pinto <>
Date: Wed, May 7, 2008 at 5:49 PM
Subject: Dear Friends Detained by ICE. Please Sign Petition!

Dear Friends,

Very dear friends of my family, Waheed and Nusrat Hashmi, have been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and face the prospect of immediate deportation without even being able to hug their children, let alone pack their belongings.  They were already planning to move back to Pakistan so that Uncle Waheed could take up a job as a research scientist, but that doesn't make a speck of difference under ICE's cruel 'logic.'

My sister has detailed the situation further below, and has included a link to a petition that will be delivered to Julie Myers, head of ICE.  Please consider signing it.  I am so deeply angered and saddened by what is happening to Uncle Waheed and Aunty Nusrat, whom I remember staying the night with when my sister Maya was born.  They are beautiful, gentle, loving people.  Justice needs to be served not only for them, but for the countless numbers of immigrants in this country who are currently being mistreated.

Please forward widely.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Maya Pinto <>
Date: Wed, May 7, 2008 at 11:55 AM
Subject: Dear friends are in detention, please sign a letter to ICE demanding their release

Dear Loved Ones and Friends,
Last Wednesday (4/30), two of my family's oldest and dearest friends, Waheed and Nusrat Hashmi, were ripped from their home in Toledo, Ohio, by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who appeared at their doorstep without warning to arrest the couple.  The Hashmis were placed in detention near Cleveland, where they remain, clothed in orange jumpsuits, unable to see each other, and able to see their children twice now, for twenty-minute periods, through glass.  They are likely to be deported this week. 

As it stands now, they will never again see their home in Toledo.  They won't be able to say their goodbyes--not even to their children, who won't even be allowed to hug their parents before they leave.  Uncle Waheed is recovering from cancer and Aunty Nusrat was recently diagnosed with diabetes.  The trauma of the detention threatens their health.

I have known Uncle Waheed and Aunty Nusrat since birth.  In fact, when my mom went to the hospital to deliver me, my dad with her, the Hashmis took care of my brother.  Their daughters, Faryal and Anita, were the most-favored babysitters of my brother and me.  The Hashmis and their children are among the kindest, most generous, and loving people I know. 

This is what we believe:

It is simply inhumane to hold two elderly people in custody for no good reason, especially when they were voluntarily planning to depart the U.S.  The Hashmi detention is a colossal waste of precious tax dollars and does not make us any safer.  ICE should lock up those who would do us harm, not senior citizens whose misfortune has brought them into the grip of a dysfunctional immigration system.  ICE needs to do the right thing and release Dr. and Ms. Hashmi.

And please forward this message to your networks.  We are trying to gather as many signatures as possible in the next few days.  We're also trying to get this story into the press and blogosphere as much as possible.  We believe that if enough pressure is brought to bear on ICE, the Hashmis will be released from detention. 
FYI, in the past few days, The New York Times has published several pieces on deaths occurring at detention centers.

A New York Times Op-Ed published 5/6 stated that 'the detention system seems designed to sacrifice thoughtful deliberation and justice to expediency and swift deportation.' The editorial's concluding call speaks very much to the Hashmis' case:'...The government urgently needs to bring the detention system up to basic standards of decency and fairness. That means ...designing a system that is not a vast holding pen for ordinary people who pose no threat to public safety.'

The unjust detention of the Hashmis is not at all an unusual case.The Hashmi family hopes that bringing attention to their case will help the push for immigration reform.

Again, you can read more about the case and sign a letter to ICE demanding the Hashmis' release by going here:
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
With love,