Lack of compassion and humanity: Shame on us…America should be better than this

Amman, Jordan (CNN)– 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.

No reasonable person would think it appropriate to argue in favor of violating the law. Then again, there are times when it’s appropriate to point out the law is an ass. Immigration arrests have increased 42% since Donald Trump took the Oath of Office. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers have become stormtroopers in the same way the White House has become the Death Star. America has become the Evil Empire, Nazi Germany, and/or a cruel, heartless state devoid of compassion, consideration, and simple human kindness and decency.

It is not a proud day for those who love America…because the America we love is being dismantled in favor of intolerance, zealotry, bigotry, and racism.

In the 1980s, Adi held a green card. But he lost his permanent resident status in the early 1990s, after moving to Brazil for three years with his wife. When he returned, Adi tried to apply for a new card, but was rejected.

Immigration officials accused him of having a sham marriage with his American ex-wife.

His ex-wife had signed a statement alleging marriage fraud. According to Adi, his lawyer and multiple media interviews with Adi’s ex-wife, she was coerced into making the statement after immigration officials showed up at her door.

In 2007, she signed an affidavit retracting her statement and denying the marriage was fraudulent.

Despite the affidavit, he was unable to gain legal status. In 2009, he was issued with a deportation order.

During the intervening years, Adi has assimilated and become about as American as anyone. He became a businessman, began chasing the American dream, and has contributed far more to this country than he’s taken from it. Yet none of that seems to matter to the callous, faceless bureaucrats at ICE unable to display compassion or kindness.

Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan describes Adi as a “pillar” of their community, who creates jobs with his multiple businesses and distributes hundreds of turkeys to the poor on Thanksgiving.

For years, the House Democrat has been fighting for Adi to remain in America and it was his efforts that secured consecutive stays of the deportation order.

“If you would see the breadth of support that this gentleman has, from whether it’s his Italian-Irish Catholic congressman or an African-American Pentecostal Republican woman who is supporting him or the working-class people I saw in his shop the day they thought he was going to get deported … to show support for him,” Ryan told CNN in an interview.

Among Adi’s businesses are a hooka[h] bar, a convenience store and a deli.

“He has a Jewish attorney whose father survived the Holocaust … this person has brought this community together in Youngstown, Ohio,” Ryan added.

It’s not exactly a stretch to believe Adi is EXACTLY the kind of immigrant America should be welcoming. He’s become an integral part of the community. His businesses are creating jobs, and he’s given far more than he’s taken. How can he NOT be the sort of person we welcome with open arms?

No one wants to see undocumented criminals flouting the law and doing damage. That said, shouldn’t our immigration laws reflect a commitment to compassion and the recognition of those who make a positive contribution?

Instead, we’re saddled with a cruel, heartless system run by thoughtless bureaucrats. There’s no consideration or allowance for the difference a person makes or the contribution they make. There’s no room for humanity, compassion, or kindness. If a person, regardless of immigration status, is a net positive, why would we not recognize and reward that?

Of course, that would presume people in power are capable of compassion and kindness, qualities the Trump Administration has collectively proven allergic to. It’s about tarring all immigrants with the same brush and rejecting them out of hand regardless of their circumstances, their family connections, or the contributions they make.

We should be better than this…unfortunately, too many of the people we’ve elected ran for office on a platform which treats immigration as evil and “foreigners” as threats to the safety and security of good, God-fearing Americans.

It’s thoughtless demagoguery…and it doesn’t get much more pathetic and heartless than that.

Amer Adi’s story, if unique, might possibly be written off as the unfortunate outcome of overeager ICE agents zealously carrying out their duties. The problem is that his story is anything but unique. Stories such as his are happening with greater frequency all over the country. What happened to Adi isn’t a one-off; it appears to be a coordinated strategy on the part of ICE, perhaps to instill fear in immigrants- legal or otherwise- and keep them quiet.

This shouldn’t be what happens in a country ruled by compassion and kindness. Then again, America these days is anything BUT compassionate or kind. That we tolerate this sort of overzealous, mean-spirited extrajudicial enforcement of immigration law is abhorrent and runs counter to everything America stands for.

Then they came for the immigrants, and I said nothing…for I was not an immigrant….

America isn’t the property of Conservative White Christians. We’re better than this…aren’t we??

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