On September 30, 2001, a Palestinian family, the Ibrahims, entered the U.S. on tourist and business visas. They were unable to return home, however, since that would require traveling through Israel and Jordan. This was impossible since their temporary Jordanian passports had expired and Israel does not allow Palestinians to return home through that country.

Unable to return home, the Ibrahims applied for asylum, but their case was denied. A deportation order was issued for them to return home. Once again, this was impossible for the Ibrahim family. The family members were then classified as “stateless,” which implies that they have no country to be deported to.

Three months ago, however, the family was arrested during a raid at their Richardson apartment by immigration enforcement officers. The arrest came over two years after the family’s request for asylum was denied. The family, which includes Salaheddin Ibrahim, his wife and four children, are now being held in a detention facility in Taylor, Texas. Mr. Ibrahim’s wife is also five months pregnant.

Much attention has been drawn to this case since four children, who range from the ages of five to fifteen, are also being detained. Lawyers who are working to help the Ibrahims, have taken action in federal district court so that the family may be released.

The lawyers representing the Ibrahim family contend that there is no justification for the detention of the family or the young children. The petition seeking their release notes that the children have been traumatized by being held in a jail like setting and are being deprived of education. The lawyers also argue that there is no basis for detention since the family does not pose a flight risk or a danger to the community.