Somerville restaurant owner barred from U.S. after immigration interview: “It just went completely wrong”

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The patriarch of a Tennessee family can't return to the U.S., according to immigration officials, and the case has made President Donald Trump's immigration policies hit home in the small town of Somerville.

The Hut is an institution in town where people have been gathering for a lifetime. And for the last 10 years, Javy and Alicia Adin have owned and operated it.

"We got to be best friends for 10 years. I got to be his maintenance man here. I help him. The restaurant caught on fire. Me and him are friends. He's a great asset in this community," said Terry Parker.

But all this time, Alicia said her husband had a cloud over his head: he was not a U.S. citizen.

"He came here illegally 18 years ago and ever since has been working to change that," she said.

"It's not that he didn't take any action on that. It's just that it took the U.S. so long to give him an answer on when he can get this taken care of. In August, he finally got an opportunity to come to Mexico for his green card," Adin's stepson, Lex Nunez, said.

Alicia said her husband went to Mexico in August for his scheduled meeting at the U.S. consulate. He got four minutes to make his case. They denied it and told Adin he's never allowed to come back to the United States. She said it felt like they were looking to deny him from the start.

"We thought it would be great and turn out perfect. He was so excited to leave. But it just went completely wrong," she said.

"They kept him just like that. That was the worst day of my life," Parker said.

Alicia said her husband knows he made a mistake when he originally entered the country illegally. But at this point, he can't change it.

That's why he wanted to make it right.

"We have a family, we have a business. We want to stay in business. But I don't know how much longer I can do it on my own," Alicia said.

She has taken her younger son, 17, out of high school so he can be home schooled and help out at the restaurant.

"That’s another thing that's difficult. You don’t want your child home schooled. He wants to go to school with his friends," she said.

Her husband is now relying on his Christian faith and hoping for a gift from God.

Adin's family started a petition asking Senator-elect Marsha Blackburn to help them. It already has more than 2,000 signatures.

They're also in touch with Congressman David Kustoff. But so far, lawyers told them it could be years before his case gets resolved.

WREG contacted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for more information on this case and are still waiting to hear back.