We were sent this letter today, said to regard Murat (that’s him in Brittney Gilbert‘s video above), of the Amuse Bouche cart.

We can’t emphasize enough that none of this is verified. So, please, as much as we’d love to tell you this is fact, we can’t until we know more. To that point, if you have more info, please do let us know.

Dear Friends,
Yesterday morning Murat was picked up from our house and carried off in handcuffs by two officers from Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). His crime? Having overstayed his Visa Waiver Program which allows European citizens 90 days to stay in the U.S. There are millions of visa waiver overstays in the US right now, and it has not so far been a policy of Homeland Security to pursue such cases, especially ones with NO criminal records or offenses, like Murat. This plus he is married to a U.S. citizen and we were about to file for a green card.

Right now Murat is being held at 630 Sansome St and they are getting ready to deport him back to France TODAY. We (myself and our attorney) are filing a Deferral of Action Request to keep him here. What those of you in the MEDIA can do to help us, is call the ICE office, tell them who you are with, and ask about what is going on in his case, making it clear that you are informed and involved. You are likely to get a voicemail box so just leave a message. Non-media friends, please help us out with your thoughts.

The number for ICE Detention and Removal Operations: 415-844-5512

Thank you SO much, I will keep all updated.

Pelin Celebi-Ariner

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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  • bloomsm

    Sadly, this is actually the most common form of “illegal” immigration; i.e., visa over-stays. Although the media would have you believe all immigration consists of brown-skinned poor people hopping a fence in the desert, this is not true.

    Previously (i.e., before Bush/Cheney imposed a terror-state level of security on all of us who enter this country), the INS had no ability to track or find anyone who entered the country and over-stayed a visa. So, you could come in and basically disappear. You were safe as long as you flew under the radar and did not try to leave and re-enter the USA.

    Now, catching over-stays has been made easier by changes to the system. And while Murat may be able to game the system for a while to stay in the US, a visa overstay generally results in deportation and no return (at least not for a while). His marriage to a U.S. citizen is marginally helpful; this is another immigration “myth”: marriage will save you. The INS only grants conditional adjustments of status to those who marry an American. In other words, you have to earn your supper (it takes up to three years to qualify). What he should have done is apply for a adjustment of status right after marriage, which keeps the paper work shuffling for a while until you can get a green card.

    He is caught in a Tholian web, basically.

    Signed,
    Previously married to an immigration lawyer.

  • bloomsm
  • the_minimalist_route

    “he is married to a U.S. citizen and we were about to file for a green card.”

    Uh…so do it already and the problem will go away.