A deportation hearing is set for Friday for a 23- year-old Egyptian who was enrolled at an El Monte flight school when he posted a threatening message to Facebook directed at GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Emadeldin Elsayed was so angered by Trump’s statements about blocking Muslims from visiting the United States that he posted an article about it on Facebook Feb. 3, adding, “He wouldn’t mind serving a life sentence for killing this guy and the whole world would thank him for it,” said the student’s attorney, Hani Bushra.
The following day, secret service agents questioned him and searched his residence and computer devices, Bushra said.
“He’s just a student who said something foolish, and it’s being taken way out of proportion,” Bushra said.
“To look at the other side, it’s not unreasonable for the authorities to be concerned about a post like this, but once it’s been investigated and there’s no reason to be worried about it or grounds for criminal charges then I don’t think it’s fair to pressure a school owner to terminate him and use that as an excuse to get” Elsayed deported, Bushra said.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials issued this statement about Elsayed’s case:
“Mr. Elsayed was taken into custody Feb. 12 by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement … for allegedly violating the terms of his admission to the United States. Mr. Elsayed remains in ICE custody pending the outcome of immigration proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review.”
Bushra said the owner of Universal Air Academy in El Monte expelled his client, giving immigration officials the authority to kick Elsayed out of the country as that was the basis for his visa. The academy’s owner, Alex Khatib, however, has said he would take Elsayed back as a student if possible.
Bushra argued that many other people on social media have made worse statements about candidates and do not appear to be facing expulsion from the country. He said it appears his client’s religious and ethnicity are driving the push to expel Elsayed.
The attorney acknowledged that some of the 9/11 attackers were enrolled in flight school, which may also be a factor.
Bushra has argued that his client has already paid more than $40,000 in tuition, but Elsayed was still declared a danger to the community by immigration officials. Unless ICE has a change of heart, Elsayed may just ask on Friday to be sent back to Egypt straight from his cell at the Theo Lacy Jail, Bushra said.
Elsayed has been in jail for three weeks, Bushra said.
— City News Service
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