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Breast Cancer Patient Denied Release for Decades-Old Deportation Order

A federal judge refused to free a Houston immigrant and breast cancer patient held in custody since October last year, preventing her from freely seeking the proper medical treatment for her condition. Rashan Akbar Momin is a 48-year-old convenience store clerk who has lived with her husband and two children—full U.S. citizens born in the country—in their Houston suburban home since its purchase in 2011.

She first came to the United States in December 1993 through O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. Upon turning 21, Momin’s eldest son applied for a petition for an alien relative with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The agency, however, blocked the petition void after they discovered a previous deportation order from 22 years ago.

These incidents connect to the curious circumstances surrounding Momin’s entry into the United States. Upon her arrival, an immigration inspector reviewed her visitor’s visa and judged it counterfeit, ordering her to appear in the Chicago Immigration and Naturalization Service Office at an undetermined time. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has since absorbed the INS and its functions in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

Momin may legally avail of a green card and permanent residence because the government deems petitions made by her son to be positive for family reunification. However, it was ultimately denied by the CIS, citing orders of exclusion and deportation against her favor. ICE arrested Momin weeks later—before she could undergo surgery to remove the malignant growth in her breast.

Several legalities surround the supposed exclusion order. First, exclusion orders serve the sole purpose of excluding parties from entering a set area, but Momin has been a U.S. resident for over 20 years. And following due process of law, notices of hearing, as well as the exclusion order itself, must be served to and received by the relevant parties, but these were mailed to the wrong address and returned as undeliverable.

Nonetheless, these facts have not dissuaded immigration officials from keeping the breast cancer patient in illegal detention. Despite the delicate and time-sensitive condition of her illness, Momin was initially denied release to seek professional medical care. ICE Field Office Director Patrick Contreras cites the presence of medical staff within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) compound, adding that Momin poses a flight risk. Momin claims that she has only received Tylenol so far.

Things are looking up for Momin, however, as an immigration judge finally agreed to have her examined, ordering ICE officers to escort her from the immigration jail to her doctor for treatment.

Momin’s daily cost of detention ranges between $127-$161—or more than $15,000 so far—as stated in her request for a temporary restraining order against her custody.

If you or a loved one is facing a complicated immigration case like this, don’t be afraid to learn about your rights and legal options. Sit down for a consultation with immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today to learn more about how our services can help you.

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