UPDATE: McAllister granted one year stay of deportation by Homeland Security

The case of Malachy McAllister is expected to be resolved this week as it looks increasingly like it will take an executive decision by the White House and Homeland Security to save him from being sent back to Belfast. He is due to be deported Monday April 25.

There is a McAllister bill before the House but Senate Judiciary Chairman Senator Jeff Sessions has apparently indicated he will not bring it up before that body.

That means the only act that can save McAllister is for Homeland Security head Jeb Johnson to grant him a stay of deportation.

Congressman Joe Crowley has led the fight to have McAllister stay in the US and he describes the situation as critical.

What appears to have happened, according to Crowley, is a complete lack of institutional memory at DHS as a new breed, utterly unfamiliar with the peace process and the role played by people like McAllister, view the case through only a terrorist prism and seek to have him deported.

“We will continue to fight this until the bitter end,” he said. There is no reason to deport this decent man who has helped the peace process. The Irish community deserve better.”

McAllister is caught in the kind of Kafka nightmare that makes most sane people shake their head.

Caught up in the Northern troubles from an early age, McAllister slightly injured a RUC officer in a shootout in 1981 at a time when that force was looked upon like a Gestapo unit in many Catholic neighborhoods.

Some time later in 1988 his house, where his wife and children resided, was attacked by a loyalist gang who riddled the home with bullets.

McAllister packed up his family and fled, first to Canada then to the United States where he has lived an exemplary life for 20 years in Rutherford, NJ..

Out of the blue his case was reviewed and deportation ordered despite the fact that the British had not requested him and there was recent new evidence that he was a target for assassination by British forces when he lived there.

It was heartening that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Malachy McAllister at the Clinton rally in New York this week.

After the meeting McAllister stated, “She was shocked to hear that my case is still going on, that it hasn’t been settled,” McAllister told the on Irish Voice newspaper on Tuesday morning.

“She remembered me from my speaking at a Brehon Law Society event in 2004. She was very surprised that I’m facing deportation.”

She is one of many US influential figures to call for justice in the McAllister case. Irish American organizations are increasingly angry over the enforced deportation of a good and decent man who has been a valued member of the Irish community for over two decades.

On Tuesday, AOH National President Brendan Moore sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to take note of HR 4920 and the support that it has.

“Your colleagues are asking Homeland Security to suspend the deportation order on Malachy McAllister, a long time New Jersey resident and respected Irish community leader and business owner,” Moore wrote.

“I ask you on behalf of our fellow AOH member, Malachy McAllister, his young family and all of those like him who continue to promote Peace in Ireland, to encourage HSE Director Jeh Johnson to allow Malachy to stay with his family in the USA.”

Malachy, a stonemason and restaurateur, was a passionate proponent of the peace process and served as a living example of what can be achieved by determination and hard work as he made the American dream happen for him and his family, even after his first wife passed away tragically and he later remarried.

He was so much a peace proponent that he was one of those recommended by the US administration to effectively receive non-deportation and amnesty status after the peace process was successful. Indeed, he was considered a model of what was possible in this life by immigration judge Judge Maryanne-Trump Barry, a sister of the presidential candidate but a woman clearly with very different views.

When he exhausted his legal options before a Federal Court of Appeals in 2006, Judge Trump-Barry issued a plaintive call from the bench for relief from the executive:“I refuse to believe that “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free …” is now an empty entreaty. But if it is, shame on us.”

Judge Trump-Barry concluded, “…we cannot be the country we should be if, because of the tragic events of September 11, we knee-jerk remove decent men and women merely because they may have erred at one point in their lives. We should look a little closer; we should care a little more. I would ask – no, I would implore – the Attorney General to exercise his discretion and permit this deserving family to stay.”

Armed with Barry's words and with broad bipartisan support in Congress it was a no-brainer that McAllister would be allowed to stay by the immigration authorities in the wake of the Good Friday Agreement.

Then on March 25 this year came the hammer blow. McAllister was arrested and the Department of Homeland Security moved to have him deported by April 25, next Monday.

What appears to have happened, according to insiders, is a complete lack of institutional memory at DHS as a new breed, utterly unfamiliar with the peace process and the role played by people like McAllister, view the case through only a terrorist prism and seek to have him deported.

“This makes no sense,” Congressman Peter King said. “The British aren’t asking to have him sent back. And if he does get sent back, there are dissidents in the republican movement who are trying to disrupt the peace process and they could use this.”

McAllister, who tragically lost his wife Bernadette during his fight to remain in America, states: “My only desire for my family was to stake a piece of ground on the Eastern seaboard of the United States which we can finally call home. The past should remain where we left it.”

We say Amen! to that.

Call your local congressman and demand that Malachy be allowed stay. The Capitol switchboard is 212-224-3121, ask to be put through to your congressman or senator’s office and ask for his or hers’ urgent support for HR 4920.

Read more: Bill Clinton can’t get enough of the New York Irish