YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Community members and legislators held another rally for Amer “Al” Adi Sunday afternoon in Youngstown, one of several planned for this week.
Dozens of people gathered outside the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center, where Al was taken on Tuesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Everyone is rallying together in support of the businessman, who is currently on a hunger strike until his immigration issue is resolved.
“There’s no feeling to lose your dad, but he’s right there, we just can’t see him — we can’t talk to him everyday,” said one of Al’s daughters, Lina Adi.
Lina and her family hoped Al could hear all their voices outside. Another one of Al’s daughters, 7-year-old Amira Omran, brought a letter to read out loud, hoping the words would somehow reach her father’s ears.
“Please take care of yourself. I’m worried about your hunger strike, do not go crazy on it. I will love you no matter where you are. My heart is broken because you’re gone,” she said.
Many people explained to the family how Al helped shape their lives in one way or another.
It’s messages like this and the rallying cries of others that let Lina know the fight for her father is far from over.
“We’re fighting for you, so stay strong until they let you out because I know they will. I know they will,” Lina said.
Even amid the government shutdown, both Republicans and Democrats attended the rally to support Al and his family.
“Look around, this is what Democracy looks like,” said (D) Youngstown Mayor Jamael “Tito” Brown.
“None of us that name a name of a party are for this. This is not what we signed up for,” said Jeff Green, vice president of the Ohio Black Republicans Association. “It’s more than politics because this goes to the fabric of who we are as a nation.”
State Sen. Joe Schiavoni and State Rep. Michelle Lepore-Hagan both met with Al early Sunday morning.
They say he is in good spirits but is concerned for his family.
“He was worried about the way they’re feeling, and he’s sitting there and doesn’t know why he’s there. So now it’s up to us,” Schiavoni said.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman says his office has been working with ICE and Congressman Tim Ryan to figure out a solution.
“We’re trying to help him, both to get out of his current situation but to also resolve this issue quickly so that he can go home and then come back. And so, our hope is that we’ll be able to resolve it,” he said.
Al’s attorney, David Leopold, also went to the rally to support his family, but to also meet with Al.
“They can’t be afraid — he had his tickets, he bought his tickets, he was going to leave — not happily. But this is a man that respects the law,” Leopold said.
Those at the rally know this issue is far from over, but they’re not giving up.
“They can bully us all they want, we’ll be here every day until the end,” Lina said.
Still no word on if or when Al will be released.