Pol Brennan

It appears certain that Pol Brennan, a former IRA operative, would be deported back to Northern Ireland.

It if happens it is an indictment of the Obama administration and a slap in the face for those who worked hard to ensure that the benefits of the Irish peace process would spread to America.

It is time for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to step in and overrule the judge’s deportation order. Brennan deserves to stay in America with his family.

Clearly under the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement, which ended the conflict in Northern Ireland, he should be allowed to do so.

America embraced that agreement at the time, and the government should now embrace the realities of what it meant -- that protagonists were given a second chance and that those who were in America were able to start anew life here.

Brennan has lived in the U.S. for 25 years. After arriving here after he escaped from the notorious Long Kesh prison.

In 2000 he and three others won the right to stay in the U.S. after the British government withdrew their extradition case against him.

Sine that time Brennan lived openly in the San Francisco Bay Area where he worked as a carpenter and was married.

His annual visa was renewed each year, but it had not been updated when he was stopped in a routine border checkpoint during a visit to Austin, Texas to see a family friend.

Brennan was one of those handful of former IRA men who had been living in the U.S. as part of the peace process deal made when President Clinton was in power.

The ending of the war meant that paramilitaries on both sides in Ireland and Britain were released as part of the peace settlement.

The U.S. also played a role in reconciliation when former IRA men on the run here were allowed to stay under certain conditions.

That deal, which had many inherent difficulties because it left the men in limbo, had held up until Brennan was arrested at the checkpoint in Texas with an expired work permit.

What should have happened next was that Brennan should have been allowed to update his work permit and released.

Instead he was held in a federal prison until a judge decided his faith. He has now been deemed deportable.

Meanwhile, back in Northern Ireland, Democratic Unionist Party Member of Parliament Jeffrey Donaldson has called on authorities there to immediately jail Brennan when he returns.

“I am now publicly calling on the secretary of state to set procedures in place for Brennan to be returned to jail,” he said.

Donaldson conveniently forgets that Brennan qualifies under the Good Friday Agreement for release, as all other prisoners held in Irish and British jails were.

But it is an example of the hoopla that will inevitably surround Brennan if he is forced back to Ireland. Unionists will try and use his presence as some kind of show trial in order to prove their hardline credentials.

Even if Brennan is deported to the Irish Republic, unionists are calling on the British government to seek his extradition to Northern Ireland.

It is the kind of manufactured outrage stuff we saw for decades from Unionists who never wanted to see the mote in their own eye.

Obama and Napolitano can do the peace process a favor by not allowing any of this grandstanding to take place. Pol Brennan should be allowed stay in America.