The DACA negotiations must be heating back up because the media is once again seeking out the most sympathetic deportation stories they can find. This week it was CNN, identifying the story of Amer Adi, an illegal alien who had been living in the United States on and off for four decades and who was recently deported to his native land of Jordan. The article on the CNN website is definitely worth a read if only to see the linguistic acrobatics they go through to point out how unjust it all is, how terrible the President is for wanting to see Mr. Adi deported and what a pillar of the community he has been. (That’s literally a phrase that’s used.) But as usual, when you dig a bit deeper there are a few things wrong with the story. (Emphasis added)
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. 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,” said Adi.
The line about with only the clothes on his back is particularly poignant, isn’t it? But reading further into the details, we learn that Mr. Adi owns multiple businesses as well as a home. Even if he was rushed out without time to pack, I’m sure he’s got an extra suit or two somewhere, not to mention more than 300 dollars, and they could be sent to him. And CNN describes him as a broken man, falling into the arms of his mother. No, wait… his mother in a wheelchair. They couldn’t have picked a better subject and description if they’d found the actual Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol.
So what’s actually going on with Mr. Adi here? In a system as massive as the United States immigration scene, there are always going to be a few cases that fall through the cracks, and it’s possible that this is one of them. Or maybe not. Back in the 80s, Adi had a green card and was married to an American. But he lost his permanent resident alien status when he moved out of the country for a few years. At some point, they divorced and he remarried a different American woman, but the story doesn’t make clear precisely when that happened.
In any event, he was accused of having a sham marriage and his ex-wife signed a statement saying they had only married so he could get his green card. She later recanted the statement, saying she made it under duress. Which story is true? We have no way of knowing, but the point is that Adi was then in the United States illegally. After battling it out in the courts for a while, he was issued an order of deportation in 2009. (Insert record scratch sound effect here.)
Wait a minute. Did you say 2009? Remind me again who the President was then. Oh, that’s right. Barack Obama.
ICE delayed acting on that order for several years, as so often happens, and appeals were filed. Adi’s congressman even tried to get a special bill passed to allow him to stay in the country. But multiple judges in a number of courts have reviewed the case, and as ICE said in their statement on the matter, “the courts have held that Adi does not have a legal basis to remain in the US.” Having finally made a decision, ICE slapped an ankle bracelet on him in September and told him to make preparations to leave the country. And his family did make those preparations and were ready to go, but the deportation was delayed yet again until the end of January.
So just to review, what really happened here is that ICE, who had been working this case for decades, finally enforced an order given under the Obama administration and deported someone who had lost all of their court challenges. And CNN is happily painting a picture of a “broken man” who was unjustly targeted and ruined by Donald Trump.
It’s not unusual for the media to pick out these poster child cases and highlight them to tug at heartstrings and try to move the needle of public perception on an issue. They did the same thing with the story of the illegal alien journalism student who self-deported last month. Before that, it was the heartwarming story of Jorge Garcia in Detroit. What they all have in common at the end of the day is the fact that these were people who were in the country illegally and were either caught and deported under the normal rule of law or left of their own volition.
It’s definitely possible that mistakes are made from time to time and someone with a lawful basis for being here gets picked up. If that’s the case, highlight it all you like, have them file an appeal and I’m sure it can be worked out. But that wasn’t the case with Mr. Adi or the others we featured here. They were illegal aliens and ICE did their job. End of story.