Life for Nazmieh Juma Hazahza changed forever one morning in November when federal immigration agents stormed her Irving apartment, woke up sleepy family members, placed guns to their heads and ordered them out.

Her family was split up and sent to different detention facilities. Mrs. Hazahza and her youngest son, Mohammad, were recently released from the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Facility in Taylor. But the rest of her family – her husband and four children – remain locked up.

Attorneys for the Hazahzas filed a writ of habeas corpus to order the family’s release from the Rolling Plains Detention Facility in Haskell, near Abilene.

Mrs. Hazahza hopes that they will be together one day. But she’s long on pain and short on hope.

“This exact moment, there’s not 1 percent of hope,” she said through a translator this week. “There is no life without hope.”

Immigration officials have been facing criticism for how the Hutto center is run, particularly that children have been kept at the facility. The government has denied the abuses, saying the criticism is unfounded and based on limited anecdotal information. The White House last week defended the use of the Hutto center.

The Hazahzas were arrested through a program that targets people who have ignored deportation orders, said Carl Rusnok, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman. Mr. Rusnok wouldn’t comment Wednesday on the writ or details about the family’s status.

The Hazahzas were one of three local Palestinian families arrested during Nov. 2 immigration raids, among a number of “fugitive aliens and immigration status violators.” One of the North Texas families, the Suleimans, has been deported to Jordan. The Hazahzas and the other family – the Ibrahims – have been living in limbo, in and out of detention. . .

Dallas-area members of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, are aware of the detention centers and have been trying to raise awareness, said Asma Salam, a member of the group’s local board of directors.

“We’re just trying to support the families in detention and find out what are the exact reasons they’re detained,” she said.

About 15 people protested in front of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service office on Stemmons Freeway in Dallas on Wednesday, demanding the shutdown of the Hutto center. They also called for immigration reform.


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