Irish Republican News · November 24, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Irish family under siege by U.S. agents

An Irish Republican is facing expulsion from the US after an immigration court rejected an appeal against his deportation.

Malachy McAllister is a former member of the INLA, a small republican group which ceased its armed struggle against British rule in 1994.

He and his family fled Belfast in 1988 after a loyalist gun attack on his Ormeau Road home.

Malachy applied for refugee status to the US government in 1994 on grounds that his life would be in danger if he returned home. A federal judge found that the family had suffered ``severe persecution'' and granted them political asylum in the United States.

The family, which currently lives in New Jersey, is in danger of being torn asunder on the eve of Thanksgiving. Malachy faces immediate deportation, while his wife Bernadette and their four children have been given 30 days to leave the US. Malachy's 26-year-old son, who is now married to an American citizen, is also included in last week's deportation order.

According to the family, as the McAllisters raced to file their appeals, around 20 agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security surrounded their home in the early hours of Friday morning, and two agents barged their way into her home looking for Malachy.

Despite a temporary stay of the deportation order pending a decision by an appeal court, the agents remain staked out at the McAllister home and continue to treat Malachy McAllister as a fugitive.

Malachy's wife, Bernadette is being threatened with criminal arrest for ``obstruction of justice.''

The U.S. courts recently ruled in favour of the deportation of another former INLA man, John Edward McNicholl, and refused to hear an appeal to suspend McNicholl's deportation.

His wife, a US citizen, and two of the couple's three children, also citizens, were forced to follow McNicholl to Ireland.

It appears that the U.S. agents are attempting to action the deportation of the McAllister before the appeal court makes a ruling.

Clara Reilly, chairwoman of Relatives for Justice, said that she met the McAllister family and their lawyer in New York last month, and later lobbied congressmen about the case.

She said security information and a rifle used in the 1988 attack on their home were later found in a house in a loyalist area of south Belfast, and questioned whether security services also had an influence in US immigration proceedings.

``We would urge all politicians both in Ireland the US to apply whatever influence they can bring to bear in ensuring that the McAllister family remains in the US and far from those who may wish to harm them,'' she said. ``This is undoubtedly a human rights matter.''

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© 2003 Irish Republican News