Wife of Detained Amuse Bouche Vendor Hopeful Deportation Isn't Inevitable

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At a street-food event at 111 Minna Gallery last night, fellow vendors wore shirts expressing support for Celebi-Ariner.
​UPDATE 11 a.m.: Immigration attorney for Celebi-Ariner calls the ICE crackdown on the street-food vendor's visa waiver overstay highly unusual, and might mark the beginning locally of a new initiative. Details here.

The wife of detained street-food vendor Murat Celebi-Ariner is hopeful a review of a Deferred Action Request will prevent her husband's deportation to France. Celebi-Ariner, a baker and proprietor of the street-food business Amuse Bouche, was picked up Wednesday morning by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents for overstaying a visa waiver. The review will most likely take place Monday, when the case supervisor returns. Visa waiver overstays are not entitled to hearings.

Yesterday, an ICE spokesperson told SFoodie that the vendor's deportation was all but certain, but Pelin Celebi-Ariner said she's gotten conflicting reports about her husband's status. "The fact that he's a legal citizen could change things," she said, a reference to their marriage, which took place over the summer. Pelin Celebi-Ariner is a U.S. citizen, though marriage does not automatically change a visitor's citizenship status. Celebi-Ariner's comment was perhaps more wishful thinking than fact.

The couple married in August -- roughly two months after Murat's 90-day visa waiver expired -- but they procrastinated about filing for Adjustment of Status. "We were going to do that this week," she said. Celebi-Ariner was able to see her husband briefly yesterday. She said he was being transferred to Yuba County jail in Marysville last night, and believed he would remain there until his Monday hearing. "He's holding up okay," she said, "but he's cold and he can't really eat the food they're giving him." She's hired Randall Caudle, a San Francisco immigration attorney.

Celebi-Ariner said her husband left two voicemail messages Wednesday to let her know about his detention (she was at work at the time). She said two ICE agents came to their apartment in the Mission at about 11 a.m. "They said, 'You were scheduled to leave,' and asked if he'd applied for a green card. He said no and they took him."

Celebi-Ariner said she's hoping that media focus could help her husband's case. "They don't like a lot of attention on these cases," she said, referring to ICE. "We're just hoping it helps to prevent his detention."


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