Jamil Zayed has avoided deportation from the United States before.
He wasn’t deported after he was twice found guilty in the 1990s of food stamp fraud. Or after he twice pleaded guilty to abusing his wife.
Authorities could not even remove Zayed from the country after he spent time in prison for telling his wife he would kill her if she didn’t drop charges against him for pulling her hair, punching her in the head and throwing her to the floor.
An immigration judge agreed he should be deported and Zayed’s appeal of the deportation order was denied, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
But they had one problem: No other country would take Zayed.
Since he is Palestinian, immigration officials could not obtain the right documents that would allow Zayed to enter another country where Palestinians reside if he leaves this one.
So, Zayed was released.
He went on to help run a convenience store on Hayden Avenue in East Cleveland until he was arrested again last summer.
This time, Zayed, 48, of Parma, was accused of waving a gun and then raping a store clerk during her first day on the job. The woman told police Zayed had pointed the gun at a man who had shoplifted a can of beer earlier in the day.
Zayed this week pleaded guilty to rape and having a gun he wasn’t supposed to be carrying. Judge Timothy McGinty sentenced him to five years in prison.
Immigration officials hope they can deport Zayed this time because they have five years to persuade someone to take him. But there is no guarantee.
Immigration officials admit that Zayed’s case is not isolated, though they said they would not release statistics on how many people like Zayed—or others from Cuba, Vietnam, Laos or other countries the United States cannot deport to—are let go every year. The United States either doesn’t recognize or doesn’t have diplomatic relations with about 10 countries.