An immigration judge in Dallas on Friday ordered an outspoken Islamic leader deported after the U.S. government alleged he had ties to terrorist groups in the Middle East.
Nabil Sadoun, a Dallas resident and former board member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, was deported to his native Jordan after he failed to appear at his immigration hearing. He entered the U.S. in August 1993.
Sadoun's attorney, Kimberly Kinser, said he was already in Jordan and was unable to return to Texas because the government had taken his permanent resident card, or green card.
She denied he was tied to any terrorist groups.
In the hearing, Judge Anthony Rogers of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, said Sadoun "made a decision to leave the U.S." and forfeited his right to fight his deportation. He said the decision was final and could not be appealed.
In court, the judge made vague references to the government's voluminous motion to deport him, including alleged involvement with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. The judge concluded Sadoun lied on government forms when he denied he was a member.
The judge also indicated there was evidence Sadoun contributed to the Richardson-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which was the largest Islamic charity in the United States. Prosecutors convicted the group of funneling money to terrorist groups and several of its leaders were sent to prison. In the case, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator.
The judge's comments in court provided the only window into the allegations against Sadoun. The documents detailing charges made by the Department of Homeland Security were not publicly available.
Ibrahim Hooper, a CAIR spokesman, said Sadoun left the organization several months ago.
Asked the reason for his departure, Hooper said, "Board members come on, (and) they leave."
Over the years, Sadoun made public comments critical of Israel, but Rogers said he considered the remarks free speech and gave them no weight in the decision to deport him, "no matter how distasteful they are to this court."