CLEVELAND — After his highly publicized deportation from Youngstown in 2018, local businessman Amer “Al” Adi Othman is back in the Valley.
Adi's daughter Lina Adi on Wednesday night posted videos to Facebook of her father reuniting with family at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, said he spoke to Adi earlier this week when the man entered the U.S. from Mexico.
"We are absolutely thrilled to have him back. We've got a great human being back in our community, a business leader, a job creator and I'm just so thrilled for him to be reunited with his kids and now his grandkids."
Ryan said he's been in "close contact" with Adi's attorney to ensure that Adi can stay in the states.
"Just to have him here is a reflection on some more 'common sense' immigration policies in the country now."
Michael Morley, adviser to Ryan, told Mahoning Matters Thursday Adi entered the country on a humanitarian visa and will begin the lengthy process of becoming a fully naturalized U.S. citizen.
“He’s here legally and should be able to get back to work, back to his family, back to his business,” he said.
Visa applicants eligible for humanitarian parole often have a “compelling emergency” that requires entry into the country or whose entry into the U.S. would mean a “significant public benefit,” according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Because Adi was previously deported, his visa application would have been reviewed and approved by U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement, or ICE.
Such visas typically last no longer than a year, according to USA Today.
"If [Adi] wants to stay, our office will certainly provide assistance," said Pat Lowry, Ryan’s spokesperson.
Prior to his deportation to Jordan, Adi lived in the U.S. for 39 years. He owned Downtown Circle Convenience and Deli and Circle Hookah in downtown Youngstown, until the family sold the businesses shortly after his deportation.
Adi was arrested and jailed at a supposed routine immigration status hearing in January 2018.
While detained at Youngstown’s Northeast Ohio Correctional Center, Adi went on a hunger strike to protest his treatment by immigration officials.
Ryan advocated for a stay of Adi's deportation. Congress requested Adi's case be reviewed, but ICE ignored the appeal.
Mahoning Matters has been unable to reach a member of Adi’s family or a representative.
Adi’s immigration attorney, David Leopold of Cleveland, told Morley Adi is “excited and looking forward to getting back to work,” Morley said. Since landing on U.S. soil, Adi has been primarily focused on reconnecting with family, including a grandchild who was born after his deportation, Morley said.
Former Vindicator reporter Kalea Hall was at Adi's immigration hearing in January 2018 where he was arrested.
"How many people go to a hearing like that and have their congressman with them?" Hall asked. "When it came down to it, it didn't matter.
"Going through this whole thing, I thought they would never collectively be together again in the United States. Seeing him step back into the U.S., it's really remarkable. What a feeling for that family," she said.
— Reporter Justin Dennis contributed to this story.