By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — Federal authorities detained and deported a Dearborn Heights woman despite her possibly having a valid student visa scheduled to expire this year, according to social media posts.
Palestinian immigrant Najlaa Karim Musarsa was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and deported to Palestine, according a Facebook post by Arab American News Owner and Publisher Osama Siblani.
Detroit Mercy School of Law Adjunct Professor Amer Zahr posted an update on Jan. 31 saying Musarsa’s family asked him to speak on their behalf.
“Najlaa has retained a lawyer who will be vigorously protecting her interests in this matter,” Zahr wrote on Facebook. “We appreciate everyone’s passion and energy, and we ask that we now let Najlaa’s lawyer and the legal process move forward.”
Zahr also asked people to respect the family’s privacy and not bombard them on social media and that no one else has been authorized to speak on the case by the family.
According to another Facebook post by Siblani, Musarsa’s apartment was raided on the morning of Jan. 30 even though she may have had a valid student visa scheduled to expire in 2019.
He also said she was a “very dedicated student” and was preparing for her doctorate.
“Our sister Najlaa Karim Musarsa who was detained by ICE on Wednesday last week has been released today and now on her way back home to Palestine,” Siblani posted on Facebook on Feb. 5. “We wish her a safe arrival and the best of luck.”
It is unconfirmed if Musarsa’s deportation was related the website for a fake University of Farmington in Farmington Hills the Department of Homeland Security used to carry out an immigration sting.
Of the 130 students arrested nationwide as a result of enrolling in the fake university, 129 were from India and one from Palestine, Detroit ICE Spokesman Khaalid Walls told the Detroit Free Press.
Undercover Homeland Security Agents used the website starting in February 2017 to find people who weren’t in school and trying to stay in the United States on education visas.
The fake website was taken down on Jan. 31 and now says, “The University of Farmington has been closed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Affected student should contact their local Homeland Security Investigations office.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)