Immigration & Labor

Deportation Horror: From Texas to Bangladesh

Texan Shahed Hossain, a US green card holder, was deported to Bangladesh just for telling a border guard that he was a citizen. He's but one casualty of President Obama's policy of mass deportations.
Shahed Hossain tells his story from his grandmother's house in Bangladesh.
Shahed Hossain tells his story from his grandmother's house in Bangladesh.

Shahed Hossain was a Texan to the core. He spent most of his childhood and adolescence just outside of Fort Worth, dated a young women whose mother worked as an accountant for a military contractor, went fishing on the river with his best friend and held a weekend high school job scooping ice cream at a breakthrough near his family's house. “Everything that I know and everything that I learned, I learned from Texas,” he says. “I love Texas.”

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But Texas is far away now. Shahed now finds himself passing long days in his grandmother's home in Bangladesh, a country he left when he was 10. The young man had a green card and was soon to be a citizen, but he was removed from his home over a trifle: He accidentally told a border guard he was a citizen rather than a permanent resident, thus triggering automatic deportation. In an investigative report for ColorLines.com, Brian Palmer and I dug into 25-year-old Hossain's shocking story of deportation — a story that reveals just how indiscriminate the expanding deportation dragnet has become, and how badly immigration reform has unfolded in Washington.

Brian tracked Hossain down in Bangladesh to film his new, disoriented life. Watch the film [below].

In the three years since Hossain was deported, over one million others have been removed from their homes as well. Unless President Obama uses his authority to stop mass deportations, the “comprehensive” reforms Democrats have vowed to rally around after the elections won't work, even if passed.

—Seth Freed Wessler


Brian Palmer's reporting in Bangladesh was supported by The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

About the reporters

Brian Palmer

Brian Palmer

Brian Palmer is a visual journalist based in Richmond, Virginia.

Seth Freed Wessler

Seth Freed Wessler

Seth Freed Wessler is an award-winning reporter in New York and a Puffin Fellow with The Investigative Fund.