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Adi Taken into Custody by ICE Officials

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Amer Adi Othman, who had been granted a stay of his planned deportation earlier this month, was taken into custody when he arrived at Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices this morning.

Othman, better known locally as Al Adi, owns the Downtown Circle Convenience and Deli. He was to be deported Jan. 7 after a 23-year fight over his status and on Jan. 4 received word that a stay in his case had been granted.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan – who was with Adi, Adi’s family and attorney, and Mahoning County Republican Party vice chairwoman Tracey Winbush – at the ICE office in Brooklyn Heights this morning, issued a statement calling the arrest “a shameful failure of justice.

Treating an individual with no criminal record who poses zero flight risk like an animal flies in the face of the American values Immigration and Customs Enforcement is supposedly defending,” the statement continued. “A country that punishes those who wish to contribute will not find prosperity. What I saw today made me feel sad for our country. Our broken immigration system is hurting families and eroding our moral authority. We must do better.”

Later in the afternoon, ICE released a statement of its own, saying Adi has “undergone exhaustive judicial review at multiple levels of the nation’s courts, including before the immigration courts, federal appeals courts and U.S. district court.”

“In each review, the courts have uniformly held that Mr. Othman does not have legal basis to remain in the U.S.” it continued. “Mr. Othman will remain in ICE custody pending removal from the United States.

Adi and his wife, Fidaa Musleh, arrived at the ICE offices in Brooklyn Heights, a Cleveland suburb, at 8:30 a.m. for a hearing on his case, said Tracey Winbush, vice-chairwoman of the Mahoning County Republican Party. Winbush was with Adi this morning along with U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, Adi’s lawyer and several of Adi’s friends.

An ICE caseworker came out to get Adi and said only his wife and lawyer could accompany him. Five minutes later, the caseworker re-emerged and said that ICE had detained Adi.

“There was no reason,” Winbush said in a phone interview. “That’s just baffling, and they kept on saying they couldn’t do anything about it.”

The office is giving no information about Adi, she said. “You would think that he’s a terrorist,” she added.

On posts on Facebook and Twitter, Winbush said she was appalled at what she witnessed this morning. “America should be better than this. My God, I thought we were better than this,” she lamented.

 

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.