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Community rallies to spare the life of Dearborn Heights immigrant

Rep. Tlaib demands response to request for medical deferment

Community leaders stood with the family of a Dearborn Heights man slated for deportation despite the country’s inability to treat his many serious health conditions. Hours before Thanksgiving, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rejected a stay of removal for Median El-Moustrah to Lebanon even though there is currently a government shutdown there that would make impossible any of the life sustaining care that he needs.

“I don’t want my father to die,” his daughter, Mariam Charara called out to immigration officials. “You have the power to save his life. He is not a flight risk. He has made good faith efforts to comply with all requests asked of him.”

El-Moustrah was permitted to come to the US in 1993. He got his Green Card after he married an American but soon after divorced and remarried. But then ICE wrongly asserted that El Moustrah’s first marriage was not bona fide because he couldn’t remember his wedding anniversary 15 years later. This despite a sworn affidavit from his ex-wife explaining that their marriage was legitimate and describing the circumstances of their divorce.

“Median is a good, upstanding man with integrity and moral character,” said his business partner, Mohamed Fouani. Besides supporting his family, their company has given much needed employment to people in the community. “Deporting Median will put our business in jeopardy,” Fouani said.

El Moustrah’s attorney has filed for reconsideration of her last request for a stay of deportation under humanitarian grounds. Sadly, her last request was rejected hours before Thanksgiving. Their response made no mention of El Moustrah’s health but that his removal is “ ICE civil immigration enforcement priority”.

El Moustrah’s case is the latest in a pattern of sentencing immigrants to “Death by deportation” under the Trump administration. By slow walking his paperwork, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was able to deny Abraham Navarrete-Morales health insurance and life sustaining drugs following his kidney transplant. And earlier this year, Jimmy Aldaoud needlessly died in Iraq because he couldn’t treat his diabetes.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI 13) was among those standing up for El-Moustrah. “ICE must recognize Mr. El Moustrah’s very serious health concerns. We have seen members in our community, like Mr. Jimmy Aldaoud be deported to their death and we refuse to let that happen again,” said Rep. Tlaib. “After two hearings on medical deferment in Congress, it is clear that the process is being ignored. This father will die if he is deported and our own government is ignoring that fact.”

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