Family reunions should be joyous occasions. A son seeing his mother for the first time in decades should be a joyous occasion. Reunions should be by choice. But for Amer “Al” Adi Othman, his reunion was bittersweet, at best. The Ohio dad, husband and businessman was the center of a deportation case that earned national attention for Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) senselessness and cruelty. Despite the support of his community and a rare legislative move from Congressman Tim Ryan that should have halted his immediate deportation, Othman was kicked out after decades in the U.S. and no criminal record. ICE officials barely gave him time to say good-bye to his family over the phone:
With nothing but the clothes on his back and less than $300 in his pocket, Amer Adi was put on a plane and deported to Jordan, the country he left 39 years ago to pursue his American dream.
His 94-year-old mother sat in a wheelchair at the arrivals gate, overcome with emotion as she waited for Adi. She hadn’t seen him in 20 years.
As he walked out, his siblings, nephews and nieces broke out in cheers. But they were soon in tears.
Adi fell to his knees, a broken man in his mother’s arms.
“I have mixed feelings, very mixed feelings. I’m so happy, so glad to be here, my home, to see my mother, my brother, my family, my friends, that makes me proud and happy,” Adi told CNN at the airport.
“At the same time, I feel so sad of what happened to me,” he continued. “I’m so sorry to tell you what happened is unjust, not right, and everyone back there knows that. What the Trump administration is doing is—you can’t even explain it.” But the truth is that Trump’s mass deportation force is set on an ethnic cleansing that is picking up as many families as possible without regard to how long they’ve been here, how many U.S. citizen kids they have, and how much of the American dream they’ve achieved their own grit and sweat. Othman, the owner of Downtown Circle Convenience and Deli and Circle Hookah and Bar in Youngstown, was hailed as a “pillar of the community.”