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Mehmood Family
4.26.02
Society and Community:
Update: A Family Divided
More on This Story:
UZMA NAHEED Transcript

BILL MOYERS: We have some new information about the family you met here last month in producer Tia Lessin's report on Anser Mehmood. Anser Mehmood came to America from Pakistan in 1989 on a tourist visa and stayed to work.

Like millions of other immigrants Mehmood had decided to build a life here and brought his family over from Pakistan, even though his visa had expired.

But in the wake of September 11th, Mehmood came under FBI suspicion because he was a truck driver, licensed to haul hazardous materials.

And on the morning of the attack on the Pentagon, he failed to make a scheduled delivery to Washington, DC.

Mehmood was taken into custody along with several thousand other men of Middle Eastern and South Asian origin.

He was placed in a New York City detention center.

When we first broadcast this story, Mehmood's wife, Uzma had been forced to sell their possessions to pay for food. The bank was threatening to foreclose on their home. And the Immigration and Naturalization Service was threatening deportation. Uzma and her children had no option but to return home to Pakistan.

UZMA: My kids are used to this life. It's not easy for them to go back. They start their education here and it's difficult for them to start over in Pakistan. Their education, everything will be ruined. You know? It, it will take time to — get everything back.

MOYERS: In the days before they left, the boys had their last few conversations with their father in America.

Uzma and her sons are now back in Karachi, Pakistan.

The teenage boys have yet to return to school, as they can neither read nor write in their parents native tongue, Urdu.

Mehmood remains here in custody although it turned out that it was his company that cancelled his September 11th shipment to Washington when they learned of the Pentagon bombing.

Mehmood has been imprisoned for over six months, many spent in solitary confinement.

At the beginning of this month, after pleading guilty to one count of using an altered social security card to secure employment, Anser Mehmood was sentenced to time served.

He remains in a New Jersey Jail.

The INS has yet to tell him when his deportation back to his family in Pakistan will occur.


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