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State Senator

Gary Winfield

Representing New Haven & West Haven

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Senators Winfield, Anwar Join Call to Halt Deportation of New Haven Woman

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State Senators Saud Anwar and Gary Winfield stand outside Hartford District Court Monday to call for New Haven woman Salma Sikandar to receive a reprieve from deportation to Bangladesh. Sikandar is seeking asylum in the United States.

HARTFORD – Today, State Senators Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) and Gary Winfield (D-New Haven) joined a coalition of protesters including Connecticut Attorney General William Tong and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin at United States District Court in Hartford, calling for a halt to the potential deportation of a New Haven woman. Salma Sikandar, a Bangladeshi native seeking asylum in the United States, received a stay of deportation last year but faced deportation Monday depending on the outcome of a court hearing in District Court.

“We need to stay strong. We live in challenging times,” said Sen. Anwar. “Hatred has become normal speech. This is about who we are and what we are. America is not a piece of land; it is not about the food we eat or how rich you are. America is an idea that tells us people who are immigrants make this country strong. While we are here today for Salma, Samir and Anwar, recognize every day there are thousands of them being separated from their families. How would you feel if you were taken away by the system and separated from your families? We have to stand up all for one and one for all.”

“A year ago, I was in San Diego marching against ICE, and then I came to stand here with this family,” said Sen. Winfield. “When we ask to be elected, if a family in Connecticut were in trouble, I would run out and be with them. We let everyone know how important each and every one of our families are. Here’s what I know: Samir, Salma and Anwar are a family. We should not break up families in America. What makes us great is we are a place you can come to dream, to build a family, to build a home. We are destroying a home if we break up this family. I, for one, cannot stand for it.”

“We’re here for a Connecticut family,” said Attorney General Tong. “As inspiring as their story and strength is, it is also unremarkable because so many of us share the same story. Senator Anwar shares the same story. I share the same story. That’s our family in there. I don’t want to make a plea for mercy, compassion and grace. I want this immigration court to do the right thing. Salma and Anwar have filed a petition for asylum because they fear for their lives if deported back to Bangladesh. The law of the United States says if they’ve made a credible claim for asylum, they should stay here, and that’s what the courts should do. I pledge we will do whatever we can.”

“We’re here to support Samir and his family, but we’re here because what’s happening here represents something so much bigger,” said Mayor Bronin. “We have a family that’s committed no crimes, that works hard every day, that has raised its son who is now in college, and they are now at risk of being torn apart. We have to keep coming back until it’s clear our country stands stronger together. Immigration has always made America great.”

Salma Sikandar came to the United States in 1999, her family said. In 2016, she was told to leave the country. Since then, she has made several appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Second Circuit of Appeals. Last year, Sikandar received a last-minute reprieve after being told to return to Bangladesh; however, she faced a merits hearing Monday which could lead to her deportation. Dozens of individuals rallied and protested in front of District Court to advocate for her to remain in the United States, including her son Samir Mahmud, a student at Quinnipiac University, and her husband Anwar Mahmud.

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