One of President Trump’s key campaign promises was the deportation of any unauthorized immigrant with a criminal record. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office has been more active recently in helping to uphold this promise.
The office has come under fire for raids on sanctuary cities that many in the media are citing as “politically motivated.” Last week, they faced heavy criticism for the detainment of Michigan doctor, Lukasz Niec. Niec, who was a green card holder, and had two misdemeanor crimes on his record.
While Trump had placed restrictions on his initial promise of deporting all illegals with a criminal record, by stating that only violent criminals would be removed, ICE has detained those with minor criminal records as well.
Today, ICE took a further step forward with the deportation of Amer Adi Othman. Othman had come to the US 39 years ago and had originally been granted a green card for marrying an American woman. The legitimacy of that marriage has been questioned by ICE, as well as U.S. Courts. He has been married to his second wife for over 30 years and became a business man in the Youngstown, Ohio area.
Othman and his second wife had moved out of the United States for many years and when they returned, Othman’s green card was confiscated. His request for citizenship was denied because of a claim that the marriage from 1979 was fraudulent. He had been told by ICE to prepare for deportation, and had willingly made plans to return to his native Jordan.
Othman found an ally in Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan (D), and was granted a surprising stay in early January. Ryan took up Othman’s cause and introduced a private bill to the House Judiciary Committee. This bill passed in the house on January 18th, giving Othman a 6 month stay so that his case could be reviewed. This stay however, was not recognized by ICE.
On January 16th, Othman was scheduled to have a routine meeting with ICE officials. At this meeting he was arrested and detained, despite the stay granted by Congress. He began a hunger strike while detained, but this only succeeded in making the in-flight meals slightly more edible, as he was forcibly deported on January 30th.
Many journalists and pundits have argued that ICE is “out of control,” and had no authority to ignore the stay approved by Congress. However, it could be as easily argued that the House had no legal leg to stand on in flouting federal law and the Constitution, by granting a stay to an illegal immigrant scheduled for deportation.
Update: ICE provided the following statement in response to a media inquiry by Splinter:
“After conducting a comprehensive review of Mr. Othman’s case, including careful consideration of the Chair of the Judiciary Committee’s request for an investigative report, ICE has chosen not to grant a stay of removal in his case.
Over the last decade, Mr. Othman’s immigration case has undergone exhaustive judicial review at multiple levels of the nation’s courts, including before the immigration courts, federal appeals courts and U.S. district court. In each review, the courts have uniformly held that Mr. Othman does not have a legal basis to remain in the U.S. [Emphasis by ICE]. As such, Mr. Othman will remain in ICE custody pending removal from the United States. Due to operational security concerns, ICE does not confirm specific removal arrangements prior to an individual’s successful repatriation.
While ICE acknowledges Congress’s authority to pass legislation providing immigration benefits to non-citizens, alien beneficiaries need not be present in the United States for a private immigration relief bill to be introduced, considered, and/or enacted. An alien who is granted relief through the enactment of a private immigration bill can lawfully travel back to the United States.
As ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan has made clear, ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”