Irish Republican News · April 9, 2016
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Political move to prevent US deportation
Political move to prevent US deportation

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US Congressmen will introduce and support a Bill in the House of Congress next week aimed at postponing the deportation of a former Irish republican prisoner from the US.

The decades-long legal fight by Malachy McAllister, who lives in New Jersey, to remain in the US culminated last month in the Belfast man receiving notification from the US Department of Homeland Security to “surrender for removal” on April 25th.

Mr McAllister was denied political asylum in 2003 but has remained in the US under annual deferral actions. He was told in a letter of March 23rd to report to a deportation office in Newark, New Jersey, with “a small travel bag” and was warned that he may be arrested if he failed to show up.

Bill Pascrell, who represents Malachy’s congressional district in New Jersey, plans to introduce a Bill in the House of Representatives this week to delay the deportation order.

New York congressman Joe Crowley, a Democrat, and Peter King, a Republican, stressed the potential political implications of Malachy’s deportation in a call on Monday with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement director Sarah Saldana.

“It would send a terrible message to men and women who took risks for peace on all sides,” Mr Crowley said, pointing to Malachy’s support for the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Politicians were engaged in a “full-court press” with the Obama administration to block the deportation, he said. Senators Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Chuck Schumer of New York are also supporting Malachy who had a meeting with Irish diplomats at the consulate in New York on his case on Friday.

“We understand that there is a timeline here and we need to move quickly,” Mr Crowley said.

During the 1981 hunger strikes, Mr McAllister was briefly involved with the INLA (Irish National Liberation Army) and served four years in jail. In 1988, he fled the North for Canada after a gun attack by Loyalist group, the Red Hand Commandos, on his Belfast home while he was abroad on holiday.

He moved to the US in 1996 and runs a construction business in New Jersey and an Irish pub in Manhattan.

He serves on the New Jersey state board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and was an aide to the Grand Marshal of the 2010 New York St Patrick’s Day parade, then New York police commissioner Raymond Kelly. This year, he walked in the parade alongside Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and vice-president Mary Lou McDonald.

Malachy suspects his proposed removal may relate to a new investigation by the recently established Historical Investigations Unit into the 1988 attack on his home. He received an early-morning call several weeks ago informing him that the cold case was being reopened.

The 2012 report by Desmond Lorenz de Silva into collusion found that Brian Nelson, a loyalist agent of the British Crown forces, had been supplied by his military handlers with a photograph of Mr McAllister used by the loyalist group to target him in 1988.

“Why all of a sudden has this happened since all of this information is coming out on collusion?” said the Belfast man.

“I’m just worn down,” he said. “So many years we’ve had to go through this. All I want is closure. Questions have to be asked as to why this is happening now.”

“Everybody here knows who I am and what I stand for, all the Irish groups and organizations. I am very grateful for their support.”

The father to a 4-year-old U.S.-born son and grandfather to five US citizen grandchildren said that “there isn’t a day that does by when we don’t think about the case, and now it’s more urgent than ever.”

“All I want is closure,” he added. “I love America, my family loves America and all the freedoms this county has given us. We just want to be able to stay and keep on doing what we are doing.”

Congressman Crowley said Malachy meets all the requirements to avoid deportation: “He is absolutely no threat to the United States. He is one of the former hard men who took risks for peace in Northern Ireland, and his case needs to be seen in that context. We do not want to give reason for the dissidents to say their campaign should continue, and deporting Malachy would do that.”

“I love this country and I’ve always done the right thing since me and my family came here,” said Malachy. “I’m asking the Irish American community to continue to support me and my children in our desire to stay in America for good.”

© 2016 Irish Republican News