Government

UPDATE: ICE Gets Notice from Committee on Adi

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is reviewing notification from the U.S. House of Representatives regarding a request approved last night by the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security for Al Adi.

Khaalid Walls, regional director of communications for ICE, said the agency received the request this afternoon for Adi, who was taken into custody earlier this week.

Adi is now at Northeast Ohio Correctional Center, 2240 Hubbard Road in Youngstown, where he was transferred today after he refused nine consecutive meals at Geauga County Jail.

“To ensure the highest level of medical care during his hunger strike, he was transferred today to the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center, where his health can be monitored 24 hours a day by on-site medical professionals,” Walls said. “ICE fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference. ICE does not retaliate in any way against hunger strikers. ICE explains the negative health effects of not eating to detainees. For their health and safety, ICE Health Service Corps closely monitors the food and water intake of those identified as being on a hunger strike.”

Adi remains in custody, Walls continued, because ICE policy only reviews for stays of deportation when it receives written notification from the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee or appropriate subcommittee. Prior to this afternoon, no such notification has been provided to the agency.

This morning, it was initially reported that Amer Othman, better known locally as Al Adi, was being transferred from the Geauga County Jail. Later in the morning, Adi’s family said that his attorney was told that the business owner would remain in the jail. In the early afternoon, Adi’s family was notified that he had been transferred to a different site, but were not told where.

Adi owns the Downtown Circle Convenience and Deli. Fidaa Musleh, Adi’s wife, and other family members were at the county jail this morning awaiting his release following last night’s intervention by the House subcommittee.

On Tuesday, Adi was taken into custody by ICE at the agency’s office in Brooklyn Heights when he arrived for what his attorney, David Leopold, called “a routine meeting” after his scheduled deportation on Jan. 7 was “unilaterally canceled.” He has been on a hunger strike ever since.

Last night, the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security voted to request that the Department of Homeland Security review Adi’s case.

“That should lead to him not getting deported and hopefully soon getting out of jail,” U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, told reporters on a conference call last night.

The subcommittee’s vote to request a study usually grants a six-month stay while Homeland Security investigates the case, Ryan said. Such a report is used by subcommittee to decide whether to proceed with a vote on legislation Ryan introduced that would grant Adi permanent legal status.

Adi has lived in the United States since 1979. He was briefly married then divorced, and has been married to his current wife, Fidaa Musleh, for 29 years. The first marriage was deemed fraudulent after an administrative review, based upon an affidavit, since recanted, by his first wife.

The case has never been heard by an immigration judge, Ryan said. “Let him have his day in court,” he said.       

When he returned to Washington this week, Ryan said he “started grabbing people to talk to” about Adi’s situation. The congressman said he has been working on Adi’s case since 2013 but only spoke publicly about it recently.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.