NEW YORK - US authorities in the State of Ohio are preparing to deport an elderly Pakistani couple to Pakistan who could not legalize their stay in this country, despite years of efforts, according to a media report today. Waheed Hashmi, 69, and his wife, Nusrat Hashmi, 63,  were released on Wednesday from federal detention and allowed to return home in West Toledo - temporarily - more than a week after immigration authorities picked them up so they could be deported to Pakistan, The Toledo Blade reported. They were taken from their home April 29 by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and until Wednesday were in a Cleveland jail. Greg Palmore, an immigration and customs spokesman, was quoted as saying by the paper that Hashmi came to the United States on a valid student visa in June, 1973. An extension allowed him to stay until September, 1977. Mrs. Hashmi was granted the same status as her husband, he said. But the visas and extensions lapsed, and in 1987, an immigration judge ordered the couple to leave, Palmore said. "At some point, they'll be removed from the United States," Palmore said. "They did not abide by the judge's ruling, and now [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] will have to remove them at the government's expense." But their daughter, Anita Severance, said the couple worked on gaining legal status for years. Hashmi, who received his doctorate from Bowling Green State University, directed animal research facilities for more than a decade at the University of Toledo. He retired last year, his daughter said. He had proper employment authorization for much of that time and the couple had been fighting through appeals in order to stay, she said. "It wasn't all that time he was illegally working here by any means," Mrs. Severance said. "He's been trying for all these years, and always felt he had a case to be able to stay here." But Palmore, of immigration and customs, was blunt: "The gentleman is in the country illegally." After another appeal was denied in 2006, "they got to the point where, 'We're done trying,'." Mrs. Severance said. The couple decided to return to Pakistan and Mr. Hashmi had a job lined up in Lahore, according to the newspaper. "They were planning on peacefully going back," Mrs. Severance said. "And then they were picked up." In addition, Hashmi has been recovering from prostate cancer and Mrs. Hashmi learned recently she has diabetes. The couple have a son and two daughters. During the couple's detention, immigration authorities would not say when they might be flown to Pakistan. "That was very devastating to think about, especially for a mother not to be able to say goodbye to her kids," Mrs. Severance said.