New Hyde Park father of three preventing deportation launched from immigration custody, attorneys and household say
A New Hyde Park father who has been in immigration custody since June was released Tuesday and reunited with his family as he continues his legal battle against deportation to his native India, according to his family and lawyers.
Sukhdev Singh, 47, was released from immigration detention at a federal agency in New Jersey before noon and returned to live with his wife, Rajwinder, and the couple’s three daughters, including the 8-year-old disabled Ashmeet, about two hours later.
“Thank goodness I see my family in America,” Singh told reporters after getting out of the white SUV in front of his house and holding daughter Agamjot, 5. “I am very happy now.”
Moments later, Singh turned to the front stairs and held Ashmeet, 8, as she was taken out of the house, stroking her face and saying she was a special child.
Sukhdev Singh, left, holds daughter Ashmeet and poses with wife Rajwinder Kaur and the couple’s other two daughters, Agamjot (4) and Avroop (6). Photo credit: Kamaljeet Kaur
Later, in a telephone interview with Newsday, Singh said he plans to sunbathe with numerous relatives on Tuesday evening and enjoy a feast of vegetarian Indian food.
The Singh case made headlines on Newsday last year after being taken away by federal agents on June 8, despite his role in caring for Ashmeet, as a prelude to his deportation.
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Ashmeet has been brain damaged since birth and cannot speak. Ashmeet also has cerebral palsy and epilepsy and must be fed through a special tube.
His sister-in-law Kamljeet Kaur from Queens said the prospect that Singh would return home has strengthened the family’s mood immensely after months of uncertainty. The Singhs have another daughter, Avroop, 6.
“I can’t even explain it, the house is so positive right now,” Kaur said late Monday evening about her sister Rajwinder and her husband’s release.
Sukhdev Singh hugs his father Balbir after arriving at his home in New Hyde Park on Tuesday. Photo credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost
Officials from the Federal Immigration Service for Immigration and Customs Control did not return a phone call for comment early Tuesday.
Attorney Allen Kaye, who advises Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco law firm in Manhattan, said Singh was literally on the verge of deportation as the legal process slowed over the summer.
The election of President Joseph Biden, who is taking a more restrictive stance when it comes to deportations, may also have helped Singh, Kaye said.
Singh had been in the United States since 1999 when he was deposed after his asylum application was rejected.
Despite the move order, Singh was allowed to stay in the country with Rajwinder and their children for over 20 years and work as a taxi driver as long as he checked in regularly with the government. Another lawyer in Singh’s case, Nelson Madrid, said a former attorney from years ago was not pursuing any other avenues to stay in the US.
After Singh was taken into custody, he was taken to an immigration office in Louisiana and was on the verge of deportation when a federal judge issued a temporary residence permit. In November, however, a federal judge ruled that the court had no jurisdiction over Singh’s case.
After Singh took COVID-19 into immigration custody, Madrid said he agreed with immigration officials that he would return to his home in New Hyde Park under supervision while his case is pending. What was beneficial to Singh was that he had no criminal record and has a wife and three children who are American citizens, Madrid said.
“It’s a great thing,” said Madrid of the client’s release. “I’m so excited. That’s why you’re going to be a lawyer.”
Anthony M. DeStefano has been a Newsday reporter since 1986 and is involved in law enforcement, criminal justice, and legal matters from his New York City offices.