“Mrs. Mustakim, the request for humanitarian parole was denied.”
The news took my breath away. I was numb– literally; I felt like I couldn’t move my limbs. “But there still must be a way!” I cried in my mind. I couldn’t accept it as final. I still haven’t.
It was 3pm. I hadn’t spoken to Nazry all day, but I knew he’d be calling soon. As I hung up the phone with the legal assistant who has been tirelessly working our case (Mr. Gomez), a heavy weight fell on my heart.
I have to tell my precious husband that he won’t be coming home today.
The phone rang. “Hey baybay?” His voice was hopeful. So sweet, and searching for good news. I was going to have to dash those hopes. I couldn’t speak. I don’t want to dampen that incredible faith. I didn’t want to say it. I began sobbing uncontrollably; I couldn’t breathe, and couldn’t speak. If I said it aloud, that meant it was real. Within seconds, he figured out what that meant. I didn’t have to say it. He began crying with me.
This is a pain unlike anything I’ve experienced in my life. And anyone who knows me can tell you, I’m no rookie.
But God, God has a reason. A purpose. He’s doing something in and through us that is so much deeper and higher than we can wrap our minds around.
Over the phone, the field officer’s secretary didn’t give Mr. Gomez a reason for the denial, but the written request that they will receive by mail should contain and explanation. [update: we received the “explanation.” As Mr. Gomez expected, a canned answer. They basically use a template and just change out the name and such.] The worst part about it is that the “reason” they gave doesn’t even apply to our request. We requested humanitarian parole. They denied him for bond. (See photo below.) These are two different types of requests. We never asked for a bond hearing because we already knew that because of his offense, according to the INA 236(c), he is not eligible for bond. But he IS eligible for parole.
However, even though the denial is unfounded and unjust, ICE has made their decision. Naz will be detained at STDC until his hearing in October, and then for another month until the decision that determines his fate has been made.
I’m shocked and dismayed. Heartbroken. Disgusted. But we are pressing on.
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are persecuted, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” (2 Cor. 4:8-9 NLT/NIV).
Our next step is to contact our Representative Bill Flores and let him know how much we need and want Naz back in Waco. [update: I’ve initiated the first effort of contact with Rep. Flores last night, filling out an online request to meet with him. His office manager, Penny Forrest, has contacted me, asking how we’d like him to help. She didn’t seem to grasp what I was asking for, so our attorney will call her tomorrow to explain. Meanwhile, today I stopped by their Waco office and dropped off a copy of Naz’s entire application for parole. She’d pointed out several times how they don’t know anything about this situation, so I told her that everything she could possibly want to know is in that file. So I’m hoping to hear back soon!]
The incredible support shown by Naz’s employer, his church, his family, his NA community… The hundreds (probably thousands) of petition signatures, the media coverage, the plethora of support letters… it’s all got to mean something to someone.
Mr. Gomez said that it definitely couldn’t hurt the situation to get more attention- if anything, it has the chance of helping. If a Representative who actually knows Michael Pitts could contact him and challenge the decision and request it to be reviewed, that would be most helpful, but we will start first with our own Rep.
Mr. Gomez was shocked. I told him “Naz really believed he’d be coming home soon.” He quietly said, “I did, too.” The request file was FULL of supporting info. EXTENSIVE documentation and justification. There is no reason to deny him parole. Instead of using over $31000 in tax dollars to keep Naz detained in a private detention center that will pocket much of that sum, DHS needs to let him return to work and continue to be a contributing member of society, a tax-payer, while he awaits his hearing.
“What can I do to help?” I know many of you active supporters are wondering. Well first, please keep praying for us. We have been given a resiliency and peace that we know is supernatural. You have been interceding on our behalf, and we are seeing the fruit of it. Second, be prepared to get involved with us on the next leg of this effort- in getting political attention and involvement! We can’t sit passively and let this happen. Naz deserves better. Our community, his workplace, our churches– we deserve better, than to have someone as selfless, giving, and hardworking as Nazry be taken from our lives and detained for no logical reason.
Keep checking back, as I will keep you updated as to how you can help in practical ways. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Let’s make some noise!!
LOVE you all. We can do this!