NEW YORK, CMC – A Guyanese national is facing deportation after he was arrested at theinternational airport since last November on an outstanding 17 year old convection. Rafeik Baksh, 40, who has lived in New York since he was a child and has a Green Card, said that he was returning from a vacation in his homeland when immigration officers flagged his 1994 attempted-robbery conviction. Immigration authorities labeled the construction worker an “arriving alien” with no right to a bond hearing.
Because he was caught at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has authority over him – not a judge “Let’s say they just picked him up on the street one day, instead of at the airport, then it would be a completely different situation,” his lawyer Saul Brown told reporters. Baksh said he has had to borrow money because he cannot support his seven kids while he is incarcerated at the Monmouth County Jail. “It’s very difficult,” he said, adding that ICE has rejected his petition for release on humanitarian grounds.“He is fighting for his life,” said his Trinidadian-born wife, Alisha Baksh, adding “what is going to become of me and the children out here?” Immigration legal experts say Baksh’s situation is becoming increasingly common as the US government moves to deport longtime resident immigrants with any criminal history. They say immigrants travel out of the country, never imagining they could get tossed into detention without the right to bail upon their return. “It is standard for legal permanent residents who have lived here almost all their lives to be treated as ‘arriving aliens’ when they take a short trip,” said Nancy Morawetz of New York University Law School’s Immigrant Rights Clinic.
“It is a big problem,” she added.
Mrs. Baksh said her husband’ detention came as a big shock because he had successfully renewed his Green Card two years ago and traveled to and from Trinidad three times with no problem.
“I cannot understand really, in my heart. He just went on a vacation to his country, and he came back and then the whole nightmare started. You feel sometimes like it is not going to come to an end,” she added.