Time is running out for a New Haven woman facing deportation back to Bangladesh, but her family has not given up hope.
“I was like, 'That's my mother, she's not a criminal. She didn't do anything,” Samir Mahmud told NBC Connecticut.
The last few days have been difficult at the Mahmud home.
“I'm a first-generation college student. She's not going to be there. I don't know how to feel,” Samir said.
The 17-year-old’s family is preparing for him to begin his freshman year at Quinnipiac University, but they might have to do it without his mother Salma, who’s been ordered to leave the United States.
“My dream is my son,” Salma Reza Sikandar said.
An immigrant from Bangladesh, Salma overstayed her 1999 tourist visa, but eventually filed a hardship application to remain in the country because of her son, an American-born citizen. While awaiting a decision in her case’s appeal, a few days ago, Immigration and Customs Enforcement told her to go.
“This country is built on immigrants. We are not taking anything, we're giving. So they have to think about it, the good people,” Salma’s husband, Anwar Mahmud, said.
Anwar, a restaurant manager, said the close-knit family would struggle immensely in Salma’s absence. He wonders why political directives from the nation’s capital are targeting families like his.
“They're separating families not at the border. They're separating families in the mainland,” Anwar said.
For now, the family is cherishing the time they have together, and preparing for Samir’s next chapter. But for them, each family meal is bittersweet, as they wonder how many more they have left.
“I won’t know how to survive. My parents are my everything,” Samir said.
Aug. 23 is the date the Mahmuds said ICE has ordered Salma to leave the country by.
NBC Connecticut spoke with State Rep. David Yaccarino, who says he’s been in touch with ICE and is trying to find a way to keep Salma in the country.
We reached out to ICE and the attorney for the Mahmud family, but have yet to hear back.