Brooklyn’s Little Pakistan Suffers from Deportation Surge

August 14, 2005

Source: The Boston Globe

On August 14, 2005 The Boston Globe reported, "Business in his modest grocery store in Brooklyn's Little Pakistan has gone down so much that Shafiq Ul Hassan has started stocking what he calls 'American foods' in a desperate attempt to attract different customers. Across from the baby goat meat and the pungent ingredients for curry powder, the immigrant shopkeeper has placed candy bars and loaves of white bread. 'You see how empty the store is. This would normally be packed with Pakistani people,' Hassan said, sighing. 'A lot of people have left. Most have gone back home or another state. You just don't see people anymore.' Many of Hassan's Pakistani customers, and possibly 20 percent or more of the neighborhood's residents, have disappeared as a result of a crackdown on undocumented immigrants that the federal government has waged since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Waves of new enforcement programs with names like Operation Community Shield, Operation Predator, and Operation Tarmac produced a record 161,676 deportations nationwide last year, a surge of 60 percent since 2000, and a similarly large increase also has occurred in New York City. Immigration specialists and residents of Little Pakistan, part of the Midwood section of Brooklyn, say the devastating impact the operations have had on this tiny swath of Brooklyn to some extent mirrors the effect on other Muslim or Arab communities across the nation. Although Pakistan is an ally of the United States, the Muslim country is also considered a hotbed of Islamic extremism, which has led FBI and immigration agents to knock on many doors in Brooklyn, looking for people it believes pose a potential threat to national security. Brooklyn has the largest concentration of Pakistanis in the country."