Update: Letters of support from both Washington Senators and 22nd District Representatives have been added to the article.
(7/17) No decision was reached today at the hearing. A new hearing was set on September 12th to hear from additional witnesses.
Zahid Chaudhry is an honorably discharged U.S. Army Soldier who only separated due to service related injuries. After separation, Zahid has been attempting to become a U.S. citizen, unsuccessfully, and is set to be deported on frivolous grounds. A source close to Zahid tells me that the charges brought on him consist of actions he did 20 years ago as a teen in Australia and checking the wrong box on a volunteer unpaid application.
Apart from Zahid’s military service he has been a pillar of his local community. From being a volunteer for the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and the local Fire Department to helping seniors with their grocery shopping, Zahid has a history of relentlessly helping others.
Friends and neighbors of Zahid are asking for your support and solidarity in his upcoming court hearing this Monday, July 17 at 1 P.M.
Judge Paul deFonzo
1000 Second Ave, Suite 2500
Seattle, WA 98104
Furthermore, there will be a Peace Vigil outside of the courthouse before the hearing and organizers of the event are requesting attendees wear green to show solidarity.
Eric Miller, Thurston County Democrats Campaigns Chair, told the Progressive Army why he’s fighting for Zahid:
It is inconceivable to me that a man would serve our country, literally giving his body to the United States, and be denied citizenship because of a clerical error. Zahid has been an inspiration, an ally, and most of all a brother since the moment we met. He fights tirelessly to make this country one that accepts everyone, one that gives veterans the gratitude they deserve, and one where justice for all is actually put into practice. Even after leaving the military, Zahid has worked day and night, weekday and weekends, to fight for a better U.S. It’s our turn to fight for Zahid.
Bill Fishburn, candidate for Olympia Port Commissioner, District 2, shared the following on social media:
As a person with deep family roots in the U.S. military and the son of an immigrant, it is cases like Zahid Chaudhry (Zahid Ch) that bother me the most in our current political environment. I am dumbfounded a person who has served this country and made such a sacrifice in its name could be treated this way. Our veterans, regardless of their birthplace, must be treated better than this. We can do better. We must do better. I stand in solidarity with Zahid. Please do the same by joining many others at a peaceful demonstration during his immigration hearing Monday.
Tamborine Borrelli, board member of Election Justice USA and current Congressional candidate for 2018 in Washington’s 10th Congressional District, shared her personal perspective with the Progressive Army:
This man is one of the most active progressives I have ever met. I have witnessed him on more than a few occasions give of himself to help our movement in one way or another. This is nothing less than a travesty that deserves our full support and united voices sending a message of solidarity that [we] won’t stand for this injustice.
In short, this is a call to action. Please connect here and make a commitment to be there for Zahid. In Solidarity.