LONG ISLAND — A Long Island family was reunited after a father of three who was on the brink of being deported back to India just two months ago was released from ICE custody early Tuesday morning. He spent eight months in federal detention centers.
Sukhdev Singh has been in the country since 1993.
"Now we can live. In 8 months we [haven't lived]. Now we are happy together," Rajwinder Kaur, his wife, told PIX11.
Conrad Pollack, the family attorney, said after being denied political asylum in 1999, Singh remained in the country without legal status. In 2006, he was ordered to regularly check in with immigration; he did that year after year.
"He was doing exactly what he was supposed to do. Never committed a crime. Here since 1993. U.S. Citizen spouse. Three U.S. Citizen children," Pollack, a managing partner at Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, said.
But last year, ICE agents suddenly showed up at his home and detained him under the Trump administration's hard-line immigration stance.
"Basically, ICE determined his time was up," Pollack said.
It was heartbreaking for the entire family, but even more so for their 8-year-old Ashmeet, who has cerebral palsy and is reliant upon her parents. In November, adding to the family’s troubles, ashmeet was hospitalized with COVID-19, all the while her father was in ice custody.
Singh is a taxi driver and the family's sole bread winner.
"They ask every day, 'When papa is coming home,'" Singh said.
Singh filed a green card application back in 2019 which is still being processed. Attorneys for the family are hopeful that within the next year, he may finally legalize his status.
"Hopefully, nothing is going to happen again. I pray to God," Kaur said.