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“Over my dead body�

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Morro Bay resident Ahmed Fahmi woke up Wednesday morning to a knock on his door from law enforcement officers, who claimed there had been an accident involving his car and asked him to step outside. But Egyptian-born Fahmi wasn’t fooled.

He refused to leave his home, and that’s when the officers — federal immigration agents and Morro Bay police — told him they had a warrant for his arrest, for an expired visa. Over the course of about an hour and a half, Fahmi says his roommate was forced into a police car, neighbors crowded the yard on Luzon Street, news crews arrived, officers pulled their weapons, and a screaming match ensued between Fahmi and the agents.

The commotion finally ended after Fahmi, holding a knife to his own throat, threatened to end his life. The officers negotiated with the 35-year-old, who says he agreed to meet with them later in the day at the Morro Bay Police Department.

 This isn’t the first time Fahmi has had to deal with immigration issues, and he says that the charge of an expired visa is bogus, as his ongoing application for citizenship makes the need for a visa null and void. He says he’s being persecuted due to his nationality.

“I don’t have a criminal record; any misdemeanors I’ve been charged with have been expunged. I am married to an American citizen and I have two American children. I’ve been waiting patiently for years now to receive my citizenship, something they won’t give me, not for any other reason than that I’m from Egypt, and a terrorist came from Egypt,� says Fahmi, who adds that he has made every effort to work with authorities on this issue, to no avail.

“I have registered when they’ve asked me to. I’ve been thoroughly questioned and examined— they have gotten unbelievably personal with me,� he says. His biggest concern is his children, whose lives, he says, have been irreversibly affected by this ongoing problem.

Fahmi contends that the form he was shown by the federal agents was not signed by a judge, and therefore was not an authorized arrest warrant. Morro Bay Police Commander Tim Olivas, who says he personally examined the warrant, insists that the document was legal.

He adds that the officers didn’t actually enforce the warrant because of Fahmi’s violent threat of suicide; they chose to leave rather than further aggravate Fahmi. As for Fahmi’s insistence that the expired visa charge is irrelevant, Olivas says he cannot comment on a federal issue.

Fahmi said he would be at the police department at 9 a.m.

Wednesday morning, but he never showed up. However, his wife, his children, and several friends arrived in his place, representing his right to be treated like a valuable member of the community. “I’m willing to negotiate with them, if they do it the right way, with a scheduled court date, my wife and my kids and my lawyer with me,� he says. “This is America and they can’t treat me like an animal. I won’t let them do that to me. Over my dead body.�

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