Church offers sanctuary to mother set to be deported

Saheeda Nadeem has spent the last 10 years working as a full-time caregiver to refugee children in Kalamazoo and to d...

Posted: Mar 14, 2018 3:05 PM
Updated: Mar 14, 2018 3:05 PM

Saheeda Nadeem has spent the last 10 years working as a full-time caregiver to refugee children in Kalamazoo and to developmentally disabled people. She's paid taxes but received no benefits for her work. Monday morning she was scheduled to be deported. That was until the First Congregational Church stepped in.

"I'm actually really relieved that she is here now because she doesn't have that imminent threat of deportation looking over her anymore," said her son 20-year-old Samad. "The church has told us that they will support us no matter how this goes."

The church offered her sanctuary and protection from deportation, said Rev. Nathan Dannison. She will be staying at an apartment at the church under strict orders to remain indoors.

"We will not permit ICE to deport her," said Rev. Dannison. "We will do whatever it takes to keep her here with her family."

Kalamazoo has been her home for the last 13 years, he said. She was born in Pakistan but left for Kuwait as a teenager to make money for her family back home. However after three decades there, she moved to the the area with her son, daughter and husband seeking a better life.

"She's a mother figure in our community," said Rev. Dannison. "We can't do without her."

The journey for them has been tough though, said Samad. She divorced her husband and in 2016, her daughter died in a car accident.

"It's affected her a lot," said Samad. "It's affected me quite a bit as well. For her it was something she hasn't fully recovered from. She's declined quite a bit since that time."

However she remained in the United States because her children were DACA recipients. Every year, she had to check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) until they deemed that Samad was old enough to take care of himself. That's when threat of deportation amped up and she couldn't apply for citizenship.

"The reality is that there's no path to citizenship for many many undocumented folks in this country," said Rev. Dannison. "If you're ever found to be in this country under-documented, you can never become a citizen. There's no path to naturalization. There's no form to fill out. There's no website you can go to. It simply can't happen."

Now the church is working alongside her legal counsel to re-open her case, he said. The goal is to keep her in Kalamazoo near her son and her daughter's gravesite which she visited everyday prior to living at the church.

Samad said he's grateful.

"With the church's support we have a lot of community backing," said Samad. "The church is very involved in the community. All of Kalamazoo is behind us now that church has taken us in."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 113876

Reported Deaths: 3238
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7850176
DeSoto685779
Harrison505083
Jackson445084
Rankin388186
Madison377993
Lee350779
Forrest299578
Jones287784
Washington255199
Lafayette245943
Lauderdale2418134
Lamar221238
Bolivar200177
Oktibbeha199354
Neshoba1831111
Lowndes176362
Panola169038
Leflore165187
Sunflower159749
Warren153655
Monroe147372
Pontotoc145819
Marshall139227
Lincoln138557
Pike137756
Copiah136236
Coahoma124736
Scott124729
Grenada121138
Yazoo120733
Simpson120449
Union116525
Tate114939
Leake114340
Holmes114160
Pearl River112259
Itawamba112125
Adams106743
Prentiss103719
Wayne99821
Alcorn98112
George97718
Covington95326
Marion93542
Tippah88121
Newton85227
Chickasaw83626
Tallahatchie83025
Winston82821
Tishomingo80041
Hancock79827
Attala78926
Clarke73450
Clay68321
Jasper67717
Walthall63627
Calhoun61912
Noxubee59617
Smith58916
Montgomery53523
Claiborne53316
Tunica52817
Yalobusha51914
Lawrence50714
Perry48623
Carroll47612
Greene46918
Stone46214
Humphreys42616
Amite42113
Quitman4196
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster37013
Wilkinson33520
Benton3255
Kemper32015
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27410
Franklin2373
Choctaw2046
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22861374
Mobile14468314
Tuscaloosa10148139
Montgomery9875196
Madison915094
Shelby720462
Lee649665
Baldwin647569
Marshall433049
Calhoun418960
Etowah418749
Morgan403635
Houston369232
DeKalb330229
Elmore314852
St. Clair287142
Limestone276530
Walker272293
Talladega261035
Cullman235724
Lauderdale214841
Jackson210015
Autauga202330
Franklin202131
Colbert196731
Russell19233
Blount189325
Dallas186227
Chilton184132
Escambia171929
Coffee171710
Covington169929
Dale165451
Chambers133643
Pike132313
Tallapoosa130587
Clarke130017
Marion106229
Butler100140
Barbour9979
Marengo99222
Winston91313
Geneva8527
Pickens82417
Lawrence82131
Randolph81216
Bibb81114
Hale74930
Clay72912
Cherokee72614
Lowndes70328
Monroe64010
Henry6396
Bullock63717
Washington63412
Crenshaw60230
Perry5836
Wilcox56212
Fayette56113
Conecuh55713
Cleburne5438
Macon52920
Sumter47021
Lamar4665
Choctaw38812
Greene34216
Coosa2023
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Overcast
59° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 59°
Columbus
Broken Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 67°
Oxford
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 50°
Starkville
Broken Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 64°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather