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Mazeda Uddin: Why I got Arrested

Why I got Arrested

-Mazeda Uddin, National Women’s Coordinator of Alliance of South Asian American Labor (ASAAL) 

My name is Mazeda Uddin and I am an immigrant. I have lived in the U.S for 28 years. Having come from Bangladesh, I know firsthand how hard it is to leave where you are from and start anew in another country. When I came to the United States, I worked hard to learn English and contribute to my community, and now New York has become my home. But I am fortunate compared to many immigrants in my community.

I chose to get arrested on Tuesday, October 29th, for Mahmud Islam, a 13 year old Bangladeshi-American boy who lives in Queens with his mother and 2 year old sibling. His father, Mohammad Khan, was detained by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) in December 2012 and his family has not seen him since.

Mohammad has lived in the U.S. for twenty years. Mohammad’s life wasn’t all that different from most Americans. He owned his own business – a bread company that employed about a dozen people, paid his taxes, and took care of his family. Then one day everything changed. Mohammad was taken away by ICE sent behind bars, far from his family and the life he had made for himself. Today, Mahmud’s mother, Tahmina Islam, has become the sole breadwinner for the household. The loss of Mohammad has been a serious economic strain on the family; Tahmina was a stay-at-home mom while her husband was the family’s sole breadwinner. Mahmud, like so many children in his situation, suffers from severe anxiety and depression and his grades in school have slipped because of the stress of his father’s absence.

Mohammad’s case is just one of many cases of unjust detention and deportation affecting the Bangladeshi community. I work with many mothers who have been separated from their husbands and children who have lost their parents. This has led to severe emotional pain and economic hardship for many people in my community. This suffering must end.

I risked arrest to call for an end to these unjust detentions and deportations and to urge Speaker John Boehner to do what is right – allow a vote on immigration reform with a path to citizenship. It is time for Congress to focus its efforts on a permanent fix to our broken immigration system, and put an end to the fear and suffering our communities face each day.

[Photo above] Mazeda Uddin, national women's coordinator, Alliance of South Asian American Labor (ASAAL) speaks outside of Varick Detention Center on Tuesday, October 20th about why she is willing to be arrested for immigration reform. She holds up photos of Mohammad Khan with his son, Mahmud. Mohammad has been in detention since December 2012.

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