“I was young. I had to go in front of the judge. I was scared knowing I could be deported at any time. That fear was always inside me,” said Azam, recalling his high school and college years when he had to go to court several times a year.
Mohammed Azam with Scott Singer. Azam (27) manages a Häagen-Dazs shop that he manages in the South Street Seaport. For eight years, Azam faced deportation back to his native Bangladesh, which he left at age nine, because of the racially discriminatory post-9/11 law NSEERS, that required Arab and Muslim men to register with the authorities. Azam complied with the law only to face deportation even though all the other members of his immediate family by then were in the United States as permanent residents or citizens. A letter from Borough of Manhattan President Scott Stringer and 20 other elected officials urged the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to drop the case, which it finally did on June 1, 2011.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)