Malachy McAllister and his supporters have been battling his deportation back to Ireland for years.

Irish man Malachy McAllister, who has been living in the US for more than two decades, officially surrendered himself to authorities in New Jersey on Tuesday, June 9 following a lengthy battle for him to remain in the US.

McAllister will reportedly be held in jail overnight in New Jersey before being deported to Ireland tomorrow, June 10. 

Read More: Calls for action to suspend deportation order against Irish political prisoner

In 1998, McAllister, his wife Bernadette (who has since passed away), and their four children fled Northern Ireland for the US after pro-British loyalists fired 26 rounds of ammunition into their home.

McAllister and his children have lived in New Jersey for over 20 years; he has been granted multiple stays of removal by the US Department of Homeland Security since 2007.

On June 8, supporters announced that a “March with Malachy McAllister” would be held outside of the Peter Rodino Federal Building in Newark, New Jersey on June 9 as a show of support for the Irish man.

It was also organized  “the hope that someone in government might take notice of this atrocity.”

On Tuesday morning, dozens of people gathered to support McAllister before he ultimately turned himself in. Among that crowd was Dan Dennehy, the immigration director with the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH). McAllister is a member of the AOH, who has been steadfast in demanding that McAllister's deportation be halted.

Dennehy told IrishCentral that the gathering on June 9 included McAllister’s family, friends, supporters, and more than 50 members of the AOH. 

The group was led by a bagpiper, and Sean Ruane sang “Only Our Rivers Run Free.” Father Brian Jordan gave McAllister a blessing, a video of which was shared on the “Keep Malachy McAllister in the U.S.” Facebook page:

Father Brian Jordan blessed Malachy, his family and supporters as he surrendered to ICE in Newark NJ Shortly after that we were informed that they are detaining him overnight in the Elizabeth detention center and flying him by himself in a medical transport plan back to Ireland. So instead of granting a short term medical extension whereby Malachy could recuperate and travel back via commercial air, DHS /ICE is detaining him in a jail overnight and using hundreds of thousands of tax dollars funds to fly him home to claim victory. Received From Family member Sean, just learned that my Dad called before he had to hand his phone in. He is being transported to the detention center and will be spending the night there, he will be deported tomorrow.

Publiée par Keep Malachy McAllister in the U.S. sur Mardi 9 juin 2020

The caption alongside the video of the blessing read: “Shortly after that, we were informed that they are detaining him [McAllister] overnight in the Elizabeth detention center and flying him by himself in a medical transport plan back to Ireland.

“So instead of granting a short term medical extension whereby Malachy could recuperate and travel back via commercial air, DHS / ICE is detaining him in a jail overnight and using hundreds of thousands of tax dollars funds to fly him home to claim victory.”

The caption added that one of McAllister’s children said: “Just learned that my Dad called before he had to hand his phone in. He is being transported to the detention center and will be spending the night there, he will be deported tomorrow.”

The Facebook page also shared the video of McAllister entering the federal building at 12 noon, accompanied by his attorney Diane George:

Malachy’s moving and dignified entrance to the Rodino Building in compliance with directions to present himself for deportation.

Publiée par Keep Malachy McAllister in the U.S. sur Mardi 9 juin 2020

Read More: Malachy McAllister gains last second reprieve from deportation by Trump

Dennehy told IrishCentral that “Malachy spoke eloquently about his support, particularly from the AOH" before he entered the federal building.

“His collarbone may be broken, but he was completely unbowed,” Dennehy said, adding: “How ICE could spend tens of thousands of dollars to send him home in the middle of a pandemic with a broken collarbone in an air ambulance is beyond me.”

Afterward, the Facebook page said: “Our fight is not over. We did everything in our power. On behalf of Malachy and his family thank you.”

Our fight is not over. We did everything in our power. On behalf of Malachy and his family thank you

Publiée par Keep Malachy McAllister in the U.S. sur Mardi 9 juin 2020

Bob Menendez, the US senator for the state of New Jersey, said a statement later in the day on Tuesday: “Today is a sad day for the McAllister family and New Jersey’s Irish community. Deporting a community leader who poses no national security or public safety threat is not only a clear injustice, but also contrary to our nation’s values.

“By forcefully deporting Mr. McAllister to a place he fled because his life was put in danger, the Trump Administration is showing the immorality of their indiscriminate immigration policies.” 

Senator Menendez added: “This man’s deportation is shameful and will not make America safer. Mr. McAllister is a good man who built a life for himself and his family in the United States for over 20 years and has been a tireless advocate for the Irish Peace Process, but Trump’s deportation force dismissed his extraordinary equities and will deport him anyways.

“I’m proud to have worked for many years to keep Malachy McAllister and his family together and hope they can be reunited in the future.”

Read More: Irish refugee Malachy McAllister granted further reprieve from deportation

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