Malachy McAllister shakes hand with George Mitchell.Dominick Totino

The head of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has extended Malachy McAllister’s time in the US by up to one year.

The Irishman, who has spent 20 years living responsibly in New Jersey after fleeing sectarian violence in Northern Ireland with his family, has been informed of the stay of deportation and will be meeting with Homeland Security officials on Monday.

Supporters are hoping that he will be given the full year to sort out his case, though the change of administration in January may complicate things.

This one year reprieve comes after sustained pressure from leading Irish American politicians, led by Joe Crowley, as well as New York Senator Chuck Schumer, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, Representative Bill Pascrell, and NY Representative Peter King.

Congressman Joe Crowley

Congressman Joe Crowley

McAllister, a Belfast native, was slated to be deported on Monday, April 25. He was told by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to report for deportation at an office in Newark, NJ on that moning – an action which would have brought an abrupt end to McAllister’s 20 years in the U.S. after fleeing Northern Ireland with his family in fear of their lives after their home was shot at by Loyalist paramilitaries in 1988.

Read More: Irish refugee who fled Troubles faces deportation from the US after 20 years 

A number of McAllister's children and grandchildren were born here. He owns a successful stone mason business in New Jersey which has employed several U.S. citizens, and a new Irish bar and restaurant in Manhattan, Wolfe Tone’s Irish Pub and Kitchen. His record has been spotless since arrival in the U.S., and he has long disavowed paramilitary activity in the North, staunchly advocating for the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.

McAllister speaks with Hillary and Bill Clinton.

McAllister speaks with Hillary and Bill Clinton.

In addition to senators and congressional representatives from New York and New Jersey, McAllister has received strong support from the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Irish American community, and met with Hillary Clinton at an Irish rally for the presidential candidate Monday Night. 

Read More: Desperate efforts to stop deportation of Malachy McAllister from the US