WACO(April 22, 2011)- Naz and Hope Mustakim were living the American dream.
With a new house, three dogs and a close knit community of friends and family, they had plans for a long future in Waco.
But on March 30, their lives were unexpectedly turned upside down when ICE agents came into their home and told Naz that he was being deported.
“He said ‘babe, immigration police are here,'” said Hope.
“And I was like ‘Why?’ That’s never something we even had to talk about.”
Naz Mustakim had been living in the U.S. as a permanent legal resident since he was a teen.
Hope says he never thought of himself as anything but American.
When ICE agents arrived at their home, Hope says they were informed that Naz’s green card was being revoked for a felony possession conviction in 2007, in which Naz pleaded guilty and received 10 years probation.
“He didn’t realize that a plea bargain would compromise his residency here in the U.S.,” said Hope.
Naz headed to Mission Waco’s Manna House for treatment where Hope says he turned his life around.
He sobered up and started building his life in Waco, eventually becoming an employee for Mission Waco, where he met his wife.
“Not only had he had this past, but he was daily, actively pursuing change and digging deep as to why he became an addict and the root issues,” said Hope.
Attorney Vikram Deivanayagam, a defense attorney not involved in the Mustakim case, says that the reason it may have taken so long for ICE to follow through is that the case may have simply fallen through the cracks.
“This person was a permanent legal resident and just because you commit a criminal offense doesn’t mean you revoke that status automatically,” said Deivanayagam.
“It really depends on the type of offense, that person’s background.”
Meanwhile, Hope is on a mission to raise money for an attorney for Naz.
From “Free Naz” t-shirts, bracelets and even a Zumba fundraiser, she is not giving up on the man that she says deserves to be here.
After a Supreme Court Case in 2009, Padilla v. Kentucky, attorneys are now legally obligated to inform their clients of the possibility of deportation after pleading in a criminal case.