Long Island father held for 8 months in federal immigration custody returns home

NEW HYDE PARK, Long Island (WABC) -- A Long Island father who spent eight months in federal immigration custody was released from a New Jersey jail and returned home on Tuesday.

"Thank God I see my family," said Sukhdev Singh outside his home in New Hyde Park.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Singh at his home last June for deportation.

Singh immigrated illegally to the United States from India in the 1990s. He was ordered to leave the U.S. in 1999 after his application for political asylum was denied. Singh did not leave and was ordered to check in periodically with the government, which Singh's attorney, Conrad Pollack, said Singh had been doing.

Singh's wife is a U.S. citizen. They were married in 2014.

"He wasn't hiding," Pollack said.

After his June arrest, Singh was sent to immigration jails in Louisiana and then New Jersey.

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Pollack said four or five attorneys at his law firm Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & De Cicco continually worked on Singh's case, filing motions for him to be released. They argued Singh was the sole breadwinner of his home, had no criminal record and needed to take care of his three daughters, one of whom has severe physical disabilities.

"We've been filing motion after motion and denial after denial," Pollack said.

Pollack said last month attorneys filed a motion arguing Singh should be released from jail because his health was declining and if he got the coronavirus in jail it could be serious.

Last weekend, Pollack's firm got a phone call that Singh could be released under that motion.

Pollack credits Singh's sudden release to the change in the presidential administration.

"Since that time, we've all of a sudden had a much more open dialogue with the government. There's definitely been a change in attitude," he said.

Singh ended up contracting the coronavirus shortly after the motion was filed. He was in quarantine for 10 days in jail.

He returned home on Tuesday afternoon to many of his family members.

"We want to thank ICE as well for giving him an opportunity to come home to his kids at this time, especially during this pandemic," said Singh's brother-in-law, Sukhwinder Singh.

Singh will have to check in with immigration authorities, as he was doing prior to his arrest.

Pollack said he's hopeful Singh will now be allowed to apply for a green card.

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