They have been described as the “Palestinian Cleavers.” They were a generous and patriotic family that gave away hundreds of free American flags in Houston after Sept. 11. They have been publicly supported by their U.S. Congresswoman. But all of this may not be enough to stop the INS from deporting the Kesbeh family of nine this Friday.
The Kesbeh family learned just last week that they had until Friday to collect their belongings, sell or close their flag distribution company and board a flight to Jordan, a country that is foreign to most of the whole family. They came to the U.S. after fleeing Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. They have lived an unremarkable life in Houston for 11 years. But that all changed in March when armed INS agents dressed in riot gear raided their house while much of the family was sleeping. The father and eldest son were picked up on immigration violations and have been in detention since.
The Kesbeh believes neighbors tipped off the INS after scores of Muslim family members and friends visited the Kesbeh house in early March. The visitors were paying respects to the Kesbeh family after the mother lost five relatives in a car accident in Jordan.
The father and son will be reunited with their family Friday but only as they board a plane headed to Jordan. The family however is still hoping for a stay of the deportation order and have been lobbying members of Congress to pass a bill written by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston that would allow family members to become legal U.S. residents.
- Noor Kesbeh, 19, eldest daughter in the Kesbeh family.
- Asmaa Kesbeh, mother of Kesbeh family.