YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Family and friends of Youngstown businessman Amer “Al” Adi gathered again Wednesday night on his behalf.
More than a hundred people came to the Unitarian Universalist Church on Elm Street to show their support.
Adi has been on a hunger strike for the past seven days, ever since he was taken into custody at his immigration hearing. He is jailed at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown.
Mahoning County Republican Party Vice Chair Tracey Winbush, who is Adi’s friend, gave an emotional speech.
“Please don’t hold him and keep him away from the people that love him because he has not done anything wrong. You should have just let him go, but don’t ambush him and treat him like he is a common criminal,” she said.
Earlier on Wednesday, state representatives Joe Schiavoni and Michele Lepore-Hagan asked for Ohio Governor John Kasich’s help to get Adi released from custody.
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 U.S., 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 in 1988 and remaining outside of the U.S. until they returned in 1992. Two years after their return, his wife 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.