"If they send me back to Egypt, I will be hung right away."
Those are the words of Ahmed Abdelbasit, a New Jersey teacher and Egyptian pro-democracy fighter
seeking asylum here in the United States.
His fears are grounded in reality. In 2013, Abdelbasit was one of the thousands of pro-democracy protesters in Egypt who was fighting against the military's removal of the country's first freely elected president. When the officials found out about his efforts he was forced to flee the country for his safety. He was sentenced to death in absentia and now, if he returns to Egypt, he will be killed.
But none of that seems to matter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) who at this very moment are holding him in detention and threatening to send him back.
Abdelbasit immigrated to the New Jersey seeking asylum nearly two years ago. He got a job as a teacher at a local school and since then has complied with every single request ICE has made of him including complying with numerous interviews and check-ins.
The fact he has been detained and is now classified as "deportable" is unprecedented.
Under the Trump administration, ICE has been converted into a virtual "deportation force." In 2017 deportations rose a staggering 171% from the year before.
Now it looks like the much-adored teacher might become just another statistic. But if that happens the stakes are life and death. The U.S. cannot and should not deport anyone if they know that they face persecution -- especially, if the reason he is being persecuted is for fighting for democracy. Please take a stand and ask ICE to spare Ahmed's life, release him and grant him asylum. Sign the petition.