Earlier this year, there were plenty of stories about Hanan Ibrahim and her four children -- ages 15, 14, 8 and 5 -- being imprisoned at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor. Arrested in November in their Richardson apartment, the Palestinian family was kept in "the prison" -- in the words of University of Texas law professor Barbara Hines -- till February, when their plight became the subject of myriad local and national news stories, like this one from WFAA-Channel 8's Brett Shipp. Hanan, who was pregnant at the time, and her daughters were released; Hanan has since given birth to a girl.
But the media has moved on to other stories, which means there was no story in the paper or on television last week about the family's August 1 deportation hearing at the Department of Justice's Immigration Court on Commerce Street. At the hearing, a visiting immigration judge, James Nugent, denied hearing the family's deportation case, which had been remanded back to the court from the Board of Immigration Appeals after their release from Hutto in February. That means that after everything the family's been through since last fall, the Ibrahims could be deported after all -- unless Dallas attorney John Wheat Gibson can get the BIA to change its mind. On Friday, Gibson's assistant tells Unfair Park, he filed a notice of appeal with the board.
The only news of the family's impending deportation has come from the Texas Civil Rights Rights Review and CounterPunch, the Alexander Cockburn co-edited Web site. CounterPunch's interview with Gibson has, by far, the most must-read lead:
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An infant girl who was nearly born into a Texas immigration prison has been ordered deported to the same occupied Palestinian territories where her older sister suffered gas poisoning during an Israeli assault on the family home in 2000.
The family sought asylum in the U.S. in 2002, after claiming they feared for their lives in the Palestinian territories. Wrote Salaheddin Ibrahim, the girls' father:
"The Israeli occupying forces continue to kill and dispossess the Palestinian people just for being Palestinian. My son Hamzeh, who now is 11, has nightmares and wakes up in terror in the night. Rodaina, who is 9, also wakes up in the night. They are fascinated by the news on television, and know the Israelis have killed many children. Hamzeh is terrified at the possibility of having to return home."
Salaheddin, who is in his late 30s, has always been identified in news stories only as a "Richardson businessman." --Robert Wilonsky