He moved to the United States with his family when he was only two-and-a-half-years-old. He grew up to become a popular Walled Lake businessman. Now he is facing possible deportation to a country where some say his life is at risk.
Forty-three-year-old Oday Hesano is known by many as Eddie. His mom tells 7 Action News he speaks only English and knows no one in Iraq, where he is facing possible deportation.
He has for years worked seven days a week here at Barrels of Wine, a party store on Walled Lake often simply called Eddie’s by customers.
“This is just an atrocity for our community, we need him back,” said Kristine Kruin.
People gathered at Bayside Bar and Grill wearing shirts that honor Eddie. They say he is known for raising money for the Walled Lake fireworks, helping girl scouts, and those in need.
The took letters to federal court to let a judge know.
“He provides Christmas presents to those who can’t buy Christmas presents. He posts on Facebook, if you need help let me know,” said Kurin.
“We don’t want to lose someone that we truly love. He has just been a huge part of our lives,” said Mia DeSantis, a customer who says he became a friend.
“I have a 9-year-old son who looks up to Eddie like an uncle,” said Ashleigh Bonnell, another long-time customer.
Eddie has been in federal lock up since Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents targeted about 114 local Iraqi nationals in metro-Detroit earlier this month.
ICE said in a statement, "As a result of recent negotiations between the U.S. and Iraq, Iraq has recently agreed to accept a number of Iraqi nationals subject to orders of removal."
ICE said the people detained didn’t have legal status and had criminal records. Investigators pointed out, when Eddie was 17-years-old he was convicted of assault with intent to commit murder.
“That doesn’t mean the government should be able to deport these people to a place where they could face death,” said Nadine Yousif Kalasho who works for Code Legal Aid.
A judge yesterday granted its request to give those detained 14 days to make a case. She says it is a matter of life and death. She says the government has acknowledged there is a genocide underway in Iraq. Religious minorities of different faiths are at risk. Oday Hesano is Christian, a religious minority in Iraq.
“Absolutely sending them back could be a death sentence. Absolutely sending them there could mean torture. Absolutely they could face persecution,” said Kalasho.