Government

Ryan to Leave SOTU Guest Seat Vacant for Adi

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, announced a short while ago he would leave his guest seat for tonight’s State of the Union Address by President Donald Trump vacant “in honor of Amer Othman and all others wrongfully targeted for deportation” by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Othman – also known as Al Adi – was deported last night after being in ICE’s custody since he was arrested Jan. 16. Ice reported around 1 p.m. today that Adi “was removed to Jordan without incident.”

Adi, who left a wife and four daughters in the United States, owns Downtown Circle Convenience & Deli. He called his family from Chicago last night around 8 p.m., less than two hours before his flight was scheduled to take off.

When Trump walks into the House of Representatives tonight, there will be at least one seat vacant because of the president’s actions, Ryan said. Adi, who he praised as a “pillar of the Youngstown community,” no longer resides in the county he called home for 39 years because the president’s administration “decided to target upstanding individuals – Americans in every sense of the word – instead of violent criminals who actually pose a threat.”

Adi “deserves to be at the State of the Union this evening, representing himself and so many others like him, to show President Trump and congressional Republicans that the United States is his home. Instead his seat remains empty,” he continued.

Ryan, who in 2013 introduced legislation to request Adi’s removal from the deportation list and granting of legal status, worked with the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security to request a Department of Homeland Security departmental report on Amer’s case. The subcommittee passed that measure Jan. 18, but a week later ICE announced its refusal to acknowledge the subcommittee’s wishes and moved forward with Amer’s removal from the country, according to the release today.

Video and photos on the Facebook page of Lina Adi, one of his four daughters, show Adi being greeted upon his arrival in Jordan by several people, including his mother.

“I pray for whoever sat behind that desk and signed that decision,” Adi said in the video. “I pray for them because I can’t see anybody with that much … hate in their chest and in their hearts.” He added that he speaks for at least 800,000 people in the United States.

“This is what it feels like to go to a country full of love,” Lina Adi wrote in her post. “My dad has landed safely in Amman and I am so thankful he is surrounded by people that love him. I hope our country will learn from this tragic mistake and stop being so hateful and racist.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.