CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A Youngstown business owner was taken into custody Tuesday at his Immigration and Customs Enforcement check-in in Cleveland.
The attorney for Amer Othman told WKBN that Othman was arrested and detained before what was expected to be a routine hearing on his immigration status. “The first thing out of their mouth was, ‘We’re not going to beat around the bush. We’re going to take him into custody,'" Attorney, David Leopold, told WKBN. He said ICE officials told him Othman would be deported but didn't say when.
Othman, who has called United States home for 38 years, was scheduled to be deported to his native Jordan earlier this month, but received a stay at the time.
He came to the U.S. when he was 19 and obtained his green card through his first wife. Othman's application for a second green card was denied in the 1990s when officials claimed his first marriage was fraudulent.
However, a court affidavit shows his ex-wife claimed she signed the original statement claiming a fraudulent marriage under duress when Immigration and Naturalization Service officials came to her home.
Othman continued to fight for a green card, and Congressman Tim Ryan attempted to prevent the man's deportation through a private bill. That attempt failed after President Donald Trump's administration decided deportations could no longer be delayed due to a private bill.
Othman opened a deli in Youngstown in 2011 and a hookah bar in 2015. Democratic Mayor Jamael "Tito" Brown called Othman's deportation a loss for the city, saying he was a "pioneer for the downtown renaissance."
Othman says he has no criminal record.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had acknowledged Othman's lengthy immigration case in a statement to The Vindicator. ICE officials said courts have "uniformly held" that Othman has no legal basis to remain in the country.
On Tuesday, Congressman Ryan released the following statement as he says he continues to work with his colleagues and the Department of Homeland Security:
“The arrest of Amer Othman is 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 (ICE) is supposedly defending. The Trump Administration didn’t even give Amer an opportunity to say goodbye to his wife and four daughters. I accompanied Amer to his meeting with ICE this morning in the hope that what is clear to the entire City of Youngstown would be clear to ICE: his case deserves its day in court and Amer is a valued member of our community. Instead, I witnessed firsthand the destructive consequences of President Trump’s willfully negligent immigration policies. 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. Not only for Amer, but for the countless other families in similar situations. For the 800,000 DREAMers who live in a state of limbo, wracked with fear and uncertainty, because of this Administration’s lack of empathy. Every American should be angered by what I witnessed today and what individuals are experiencing every day under the Trump Administration. This fight is not over."