Pelin Celebi-Ariner had already gotten word, but on Tuesday night she still hoped her husband would be able to return home to their cozy apartment in the Mission District.
By Wednesday morning it became clear that her husband Murat, the popular owner of the Amuse Bouche street cart, wouldn’t be coming back to cook in their small, well-stocked kitchen. Instead, the newlyweds will remain separated as he is deported back to France.
Murat Celebi-Ariner, 37, was arrested in his home a week ago for breaking the terms of the United States’ Visa Waiver Program. Since then, he has bided his time in the Yuba County Jail, unable to see his wife but for two hours over the weekend.
He is still detained at Yuba, which is one of four Immigration and Customs Enforcement contracted jails in Northern California, the others being Kern, Sacramento, and Santa Clara counties.
Celebi-Ariner will remain in custody until he is deported back to his native country, France. The wait could be as long as two weeks, said Randall Caudle, the couple’s attorney.
Virginia Kice, an ICE spokesperson said, “the visa waiver program is a privilege.”
The program is intended for visitors from countries deemed low-risk to the United States. Participants in the program are allowed to visit for a maximum of 90 days. In March, Celebi-Ariner entered the country on the program to spend time with his then-girlfriend Pelin.
In such a case, said Caudle, “Typically one would get a visitor’s visa. The trick is customs is not going to let you in if they think you’re going to come in, get married and stay here.”
Under the rules of the waiver program, Celebi-Ariner surrendered his right to court jurisdiction upon entry into the United States. ICE’s decision to deport him was decided without formal deportation proceedings.
“It’s not intended for people who are coming here to settle here permanently to work or to marry,” said Kice. “Its advantageous, but the downside is you don’t have much legal recourse.”
Celebi-Ariner may have to remain outside of the United States for minimum five years, but terms vary from case to case, said Caudle.
Some 40 percent of the 12 million undocumented who live in the United States have overstayed their visas, according to Pew Hispanic.