A New Haven mother who was set to be deported to Bangladesh on Thursday has been granted a stay of deportation, according to her family.
The news of the stay came just one day after supporters of Salma Sikandar began a hunger strike against her imminent removal from the country. Supporters rallied outside of the Immigration Customs and Enforcement headquarters in Hartford, hoping for a last-minute miracle on Tuesday.
Sikandar's attorney said the stay was denied on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, the family got a call from the deportation officer saying Sikandar's stay had been granted.
Sikandar came to the U.S. from Bangladesh in 1999 and overstayed her tourist visa. She eventually filed a hardship application to stay in the country for her son, who is an American citizen.
He begins his freshman year at Quinnipiac University next week.
U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) released a statement after Sikandar was granted a stay.
She said in part, “I am delighted that Salma Sikandar’s stay of removal has been granted by ICE. We will continue working with her as well as her family and lawyers to ensure she can remain in the United States.”
ICE said Sikandar was granted a stay of removal through a decision by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in Boston.
Immigration officials said the stay of removal is designed only to provide a temporary relief from removal. It is not a mechanism to permanently stay in the U.S., they said.
Sikandar's lawyer said these kinds of stays are typically not less than a year, but he will know more specifics when he gets her paperwork.
Prior to being granted the stay, ICE said Sikandar overstayed the requirement of her visa for more than 18 years.