Downtown Circle owner remains in custody over immigration issue

Al Adi’s wife said she was informed that her husband is being moved, but she was not told where he would be going

Youngstown Downtown Circle business owner deportation

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Hours after getting their hopes up, there has been a dramatic turnaround for the family and friends of Amer “Al” Adi.

The Youngstown businessman, who was being held for deportation in the Geauga County Jail, has been moved to another detention facility.

Adi’s wife, Fidaa Musleh Adi, said her husband was not being released, as they had hoped. He is actually being moved, although she was not told where he would be going.

Friday afternoon, WKBN learned that Adi was moved to the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown.

This comes after Congressman Tim Ryan said he was hopeful that Adi would be released soon. He’s sponsoring a bill that he hoped would give Adi citizenship.

Thursday night, members of the House Judiciary Committee voted to request a report from Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) about its handling of Amer’s case. That prompted the feds to grant a six-month stay in his scheduled deportation.

Fidaa said the last-minute change was heart-breaking.

“We get this bill passed, and they’re supposed to release him today, and then you guys get the news that they’re moving him to another facility. I don’t understand why they’re doing this. You know, I feel like they’re playing games,” she said.

WKBN was not given any information as to whether Adi will be released from detention or deported soon.

Adi is the owner of the Downtown Convenience Store and Deli and has been in the United States for 39 years. Immigration officials determined that his marriage to a woman in 1980 was a “sham” based on a signed affidavit from the woman saying she married Adi to help him stay in the United States, according to court documents. The woman later recanted her statement.

Court records also indicate that Adi abandoned his lawful permanent residence (LPR) status, which was granted during his marriage to his first wife, by moving to Brazil with his current wife Ms. Musleh in 1988 and remaining outside the United States until they returned in 1992. Two years after their return, Ms. Musleh filed the first of three unsuccessful I-130 petitions for LPR on Adi’s behalf.

Adi has filed several appeals in the case and has been fighting deportation in the United States District Court of Appeals. 

Since his arrest on Tuesday, Adi has been on a hunger strike, refusing to eat or drink anything..

“He’s weak. He’s weak, but he’s OK. He’s strong. His spirits are high,” Fidaa said.

Still, family and friends wonder if agents are flexing their muscles to send a message to others deemed to be here illegally.

“I think they’re making an example of Amer to the 800,000 other people who are caught in this web,” said family friend Amy Omran.


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