UPDATE: New Word From Street Vendor’s Wife

UPDATE 4:59 p.m. The imprisoned street vendor’s wife Pelin Celebi-Ariner will be speaking with David Rosenberg this evening at 6 o’clock KPFA (94.1) regarding her husband’s detention and possible deportation.

On Friday night, Murat Celebi Ariner, who sells tortes and quiches in the Mission District, was moved to a minimum-security section of the Yuba County Jail, where he was able to get some rest, for the first time since his arrest on Wednesday, his wife wrote in an e-mail.

“Since Wednesday night they’ve been carting him back and forth from SF to Yuba County for 6 hours each way on a freezing bus and then keeping him up until 4 in the morning while he waits to be booked,” explained Mrs. Celebi-Ariner in a mass email to friends and press.

Celebi-Ariner’s detainment has attracted a slew of media attention. Amnesty International has been in touch with Mrs. Celebi-Ariner to see if they can assist in getting him released. Meanwhile, an official at Yuba County jail said there are more than 160 other prisoners being held for deportation or immigration proceedings. The jail has a prison population of 374 including those spaces held by ICE, according to its web site.

Mrs. Celebi-Ariner filed a deferred action request, which will be decided on Monday. She also plans to file a green card application on his behalf the same day, all in the hope of getting his immediate release.

Randall Caudle, the immigration attorney for Amuse Bouche vendor Murat Celebi-Ariner, said that considering the French citizen’s clean record, immigration agents from the Department of Homeland Security knocking on his door this week appeared to be a case of bad luck.

“Everything about this case is strange and unusual,” Caudle said. “He has no criminal issues, no prior deportation orders, and he’s not a gang member.”

Celebi-Ariner, who was arrested Wednesday morning, is an independent chef and sells his tarts and quiches from his Amuse Bouche cart.

He arrived in the United States in March, so legally the 90-days allotted by the Visa Waiver Program ended in June. Though he was married to an American citizen in August, he is currently being detained at Yuba County Jail pending a decision from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

That is supposed to happen Monday, but Caudle said the deferral decision could be postponed and passed to higher-ranking ICE officials.

The vendor’s wife, Pelin Celebi-Ariner, may have bought her husband a few extra days in the United States by filing a Deferred Action Request in his name. Most people in Celebi-Ariner’s situation lack the time to file for deferral, and deportees are put on planes before family members hear anything from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Should Celebi-Ariner’s deferral be accepted, he could apply and receive a green card within three months. Under the Visa Waiver Program, an individual waives their right to a trial before deportation. That means judges hold no jurisdiction without the deferral request.

Some 40 percent of the 12 million undocumented people living in the United States have overstayed their visa, according to Pew Hispanic.

An ICE officer told Caudle that they are cracking down on overstays. Caudle has been helping the couple to gather the information needed to file for a green card.

“It’s nothing new,” Lori Haley, ICE spokesperson told Mission Loc@l. Law enforcement has the right to deport you if “you don’t have the status to be in the country.”

It only takes a database search to turn up names and addresses for visa program violators, Caudle said.

The officer in charge of Celebi-Ariner’s case is unavailable to make a decision until Monday. Caudle said the amount of press the story has received, and the fact that ICE spokesperson Haley, who is headquartered in Los Angeles, is even aware of the case, indicates that the street vendor has the department’s attention.

Filed under: Food, Front Page

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