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Amer Adi’s Deportation a Reminder of the Real State of the Union for Thousands of American Families With Immigrant Roots

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Trump Campaigned on a Promise to Deport “Bad Hombres,” Instead He’s Deporting Businessmen With Families

When President Trump touts his immigration policy record and vision during tonight’s State of the Union address, keep Amer Adi and his family in mind. Adi, a Youngstown, Ohio businessman and father of four U.S. citizen children, was deported yesterday despite Rep. Bob Goodlatte and Rep. Tim Ryan’s attempts to have ICE honor a deportation stay.

Said Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:

Amer Adi’s deportation is just the latest in a disturbing pattern we’ve seen during the past year. In our name and with our tax dollars, the Trump Administration has been engaged in a massive operation to deport as many immigrants as possible – no matter their record of accomplishments or contributions to the United States.

As Adi’s case – and thousands of other examples – remind us, Trump’s deportation focus is not on ‘bad hombres,’ but on immigrants like Adi who are complying with government requirements, showing up for ICE check-ins, raising families and building productive lives in America.

In the audience at tonight’s State of the Union will be another American who knows this fact all too well.  Cindy Garcia, wife of Jorge Garcia, will attend the address as a guest of Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI).  Jorge Garcia is a Dreamer and father of two U.S. citizen children, who was deported earlier this month after decades in the United States.  Like Adi, Garcia has no criminal record.  Read about other immigrants and their family members who will be in the audience at the President’s speech here.

The Youngstown Vindicator reported on the disturbing details of Amer Adi’s deportation:

When Amer “Al” Adi Othman’s flight lands in Jordan today, all he’ll have are the clothes on his back. It’s been a whirlwind two weeks for the well-known downtown Youngstown businessman and his family. Al Adi had called his wife, Fidaa Musleh, every morning since he has been in jail or prison since Jan. 16. But Monday was a little different: Musleh didn’t receive a call, which made her wonder if he was still in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“All day we have been stressed out. … Where is he?” she said. It was just before 8 p.m. when Adi called his wife and daughters to tell them he was in Chicago awaiting a 9:45 p.m. flight to his native Jordan. “They transferred him without telling anybody that he was leaving today,” Musleh said. “It’s a sad day for our country, for our family, for our community.”

According to David Leopold, Amer Adi’s attorney:

Last night, ICE agents forcibly deported Amer Adi Othman to Jordan after more than 40 years in the United States.  Amer is a loving husband to his wife of 30 years, Fidaa Musleh, a devoted father to his 4 daughters, a successful businessman, job creator and urban revitalizer in Youngstown, Ohio.  Amer didn’t just live the American dream, he defined it.  His removal is a terrible loss, not only for his family and community, but for the entire nation.  It symbolizes the brutal, cruel, senseless, and, yes, racist nature of the Trump, Kelly, and Miller assault on immigrants and their families.  Amer’s inexplicable detention and deportation by ICE does nothing to keep our borders secure or our communities safe.  To the contrary, the time and money ICE spent on Amer Adi Othman is time and money that could have been better spent on keeping American safe.  This is not about Making America Safe Again. It’s about Making America White Again.

As NPR affiliate WOSU reported in a story titled, “Amer Adi’s Deportation Leaves Youngstown Mourning ‘A Hell Of A Man,’ “the community had rallied behind Adi and his family and his subsequent deportation has “left a lot of people feeling his loss is their loss.”

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) fought to keep Adi in the country and helped pass a private bill through Congress that should have stopped Adi’s deportation, alongside Mahoning County Republican Party Chair Tracey Winbush and a host of other supporters.  Ryan issued a statement after the deportation, noting:

 It is a sad day for Amer, his family and our entire community. In a highly irregular rebuke of Congressional authority by ICE, Amer Othman was ripped from his four daughters, his wife, and the country that he has called home for over thirty years. Amer was a pillar of the community and brought commerce to a downtown that craved investment. He hired members of our community. He paid taxes. He did everything right. There are violent criminals walking the streets, yet our government wasted our precious resources incarcerating him.

I hope President Trump comes to realize that when his words become public policy in places like Youngstown, families like Amer’s are ripped apart. I am deeply saddened and extremely disappointed with this outcome. I’m sad that America, and the American Presidency has become a place where politics outweighs doing what is right.

For many watching in the audience at tonight’s State of the Union, Trump’s assessment about his immigration “successes” will be the complete opposite of what they’ve lived in the last year.