Yousef Ajin, a Jordanian immigrant and father of four who has been in the U.S. since 1999, returned home to his wife and children in Ann Arbor, MI, on March 1. Ajin was detained by immigration during a routine check-in on Jan. 30, and was held in the Calhoun County Jail until Tuesday, Feb. 28, when Judge David H. Paruch granted Ajin a “very rare waiver” allowing him permanent resident status and his green card.
Much of the hearing focused on two issues: Ajin’s criminal history and the “extreme hardship” his family would suffer if he was deported.
In 2001, Ajin was convicted of using a stolen credit card, and in 2003, he was convicted of financial fraud, or shoplifting. Ajin paid fines and served probation for both crimes, and has had a clean record for the last 14 years.
“I know it’s wrong,” Ajin said when asked about theft, stating that he has told his kids about the crimes, and told them how wrong they were. He gave an emphatic “no way,” when asked whether his kids would ever take something that wasn’t theirs.
In regards to the family’s need for Ajin at home, both Ajin and his wife were very clear of the possible consequences of his deportation. Ajin is the sole breadwinner for a family of six, and also plays an enormous role in the care of his 15-year-old son, who was born with Cornelia De Lange Syndrome, which slows development and causes physical and cognitive challenges. He requires 24-hour care, and is unable to use the bathroom, shower or eat on his own. When asked if his son could come to Jordan with him if he was deported, he stated “there is no place for him there. He would die there.”
Hundreds of people from around Ann Arbor and the state as a whole gathered at the McNamara Federal Building to show their support for the Ajin family. The rally started an hour before the hearing and grew throughout, eventually culminating in cheering and crying as the news of Ajin’s release was relayed to the crowd.
After granting the waiver, Paruch made it very clear that if Ajin committed another crime, his chances of avoiding deportation would become significantly lower. To close the hearing, he told Ajin, “I hope I never see you again, sir.”