A rally is being held in Detroit today to show support for an immigrant who has been living in Ann Arbor and now faces the possibility of deportation.
Yousef Ajin has been living in the country legally for 18 years and was on the path to citizenship. He was born in Kuwait but was living in Jordan when he immigrated to the United States.
Ajin is married to a US citizen and has four children, all of whom are enrolled in the Ann Arbor Public School District.
On January 30th, Ajin showed up to his regularly scheduled, bi-weekly, proof of residency meeting. He never left. He was detained and has been held in West Michigan ever since, pending deportation proceedings in federal court in Detroit.
Chuck Warpehoski is Director of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice. He says this has been a traumatizing ordeal for the family, and many have signed on to rally in a show of support in Detroit today.
"It's not a protest. It's mostly just to say, 'Hey, well, we support Yousef," and we want to see that he'll be treated fairly."
Warpehoski adds that there is growing concern at the level of immigration enforcement activity in Washtenaw County. Last week, the US Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, took four undocumented immigrants into custody in the Ypsilanti area.
Warpehoski says there are no easy answers. Immigration enforcement will likely continue to be an issue in Washtenaw County, if this case and last week's activity in Ypsilanti by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are any indicator.
"The City of Ann Arbor, the City of Ypsilanti, and Washtenaw County--we're looking for how we can make sure that our communities are safe for all residents. Otherwise, it's looks like we're in for some tough times."
The rally to support Yousef Ajin and his family begins at 12pm today outside the federal courthouse in downtown Detroit. The court hearing for Ajin is scheduled to start at 1pm.
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— Taylor Pinson is a writer/reporter for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org