After more than a decade of legal proceedings, a college student from Woodside, Queens is now in danger of being deported on Thursday to Bangladesh, a country she left when she was just a baby. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Nadia Habib went to Bronx Science High School, and is currently in her junior year of college at Stony Brook. But all of her American dreams may end if the U.S. government decides to send her back to Bangladesh, a country she left when she was just 20 months old.
"I'm very anxious. I really don't know what to expect tomorrow," said Habib. "I could literally be getting on a plane and leaving everything I have ever known to a country that I don't know."
Habib grew up in Woodside, Queens. Her father drives a taxi and has a green card, and her three younger siblings were all born in the United States. So out of this family of five, it is only Nadia Habib and her mother Nezmin who now face deportation.
"None of my friends actually knew that I was undocumented. It was never a big issue," said Nadia Habib. "They just saw me as equal to them, so they're just like, 'Wow, you never told me.' It's coming to them out of nowhere. They're really shocked, they're really upset."
The proceedings began 11 years ago, when the Habib family was in court for a hearing to establish permanent residency. Her mother was sick the night before and failed to show up at the hearing. A Judge ordered the mother and daughter deported in absentia.
Since then, the case has wound through the system.
Habib and her mother received a letter last month from the federal government, warning of this possible deportation. But the letter went to the post office and they did not see it until earlier this month.
It told them both to report to 26 Federal Plaza by 11 a.m. Thursday, with their passports and no more than 50 pounds of luggage.
Attorneys representing the Habib family have requested deferred action, but so far the federal government has refused.
"We've been highlighting the fact that they are part of this tightly knit family that lives in New York. All they want to do is remain here and stay living here," said immigration attorney Aygul Charles.
In a statement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials did not address the specifics of the Habib case, but said the agency exercises "prosecutorial discretion."
For Habib and her mother, the clock is ticking.