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Youngstown, OH — Last night family, friends, employees, and strangers gathered at Circle Hookah and Bar in downtown Youngstown to show their continued support for Amer Adi Othman, owner of the hookah bar as well as the adjacent convenience store, Downtown Circle. Adi was deported earlier this year, despite being the beneficiary of a private immigration bill in Congress that should have allowed him to stay with his family and community in the United States.
Native son Tom Manche, now a music producer in Nashville, performed a song he was inspired to write when Adi was deported from his family, businesses, community, and country after 40 years of living in the United States. “Welcome Home (Amer’s Song)” reflects on what it means to be a “real” American and offers a hope that one day “kinder hearts take over” and Amer’s “story ends / With a welcome home, home to America.”
Amer’s wife, Fidaa Musleh, hugged everyone in the room while Amer listened to the concert via FaceTime on his daughter’s phone. Both he and Fidaa addressed the crowd at the end. Fidaa vowed to “keep fighting to get him back.” WYSU organized the free concert.
Meanwhile in Cincinnati, Sandra Mendoza is continuing to search for a way to bring her husband, Yancarlos Mendez, back after he was also deported this year. WCPO Cincinnati reports that Mendez’ lawyers have filed an appeal of his deportation, because his wife and young stepson Ricky, who is paraplegic, desperately need him.
In Lorain, the family of Pedro Hernandez also continue to hope and pray for a miracle that will reunite their fractured family. Pedro was deported in September of last year, again despite his crucial role as caregiver to his stepson with cerebral palsy, and the fact that the rest of his family loves and needs him too. The Hernandez family’s struggles to live apart were recently highlighted on Univision’s national program Aquí y Ahora.
“When you spend time with these families, you see their pain. These are just a few examples of the fractured families the Trump Administration has created all across America,” said Lynn Tramonte, Director of America’s Voice Ohio. “The government does not have to separate these families; they are choosing to. We need a better system that takes into account a person’s whole being — their roles as caregivers, taxpayers, and simply valued members of loving families — before issuing them a lifetime banishment from their homes. I have hope and faith that the American people agree.”