Former Irish political prisoner Malachy McAllister, who was set to be deported this weekend, has gained a six-month reprieve.
Intense lobbying by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Senator Chuck Schumer, Congressman Peter King and Eliot Engel the AOH among others led to yet another postponement of deportation.
Congressman King wrote on Facebook on the extension to Malachy McAllister.
“Having spoken with @POTUS Trump, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney in recent days I am confident of their intention to reach a permanent & equitable resolution to Malachy's unfair situation. I consider this 6 month extension to be a temporary measure. Every effort must be made over the next 6 months to ensure Malachy will be allowed to remain in the United States on a permanent basis. He must not be forced to live his life on 6 month intervals. I commend @CardinalDolan for his very instrumental intervention and conversation with President Trump.“
Things had looked bleak for McAllister after he revealed he was being sent back, “I must report to an ICE office in Newark Airport at 3.30 p.m." on November 29.
“ICE agents will escort me to the plane and accompany me on the flight to Dublin. No family members will be allowed to travel with me."
McAllister, who has been living in the US for over two decades, was a member of the Irish National Liberation Army in the 1980s and served three years in prison after being convicted of unlawful and malicious wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm and conspiring to murder police officers. He claims he abandoned the nationalist paramilitary group prior to going to prison.
McAllister fled Belfast with his family after a gun and bomb attack on his home and has been living stateside ever since.
In 2000, a US immigration judge denied McAllister’s claim for asylum, and a subsequent appeal was also denied. However, President Trump’s sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, broke with the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals and sided with the Irishman.
Judge Barry wrote: "We cannot be the country we should be if, because of the tragic events of September 11th, 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.”
Earlier this year, McAllister was granted a six-month stay after bipartisan intervention from politicians including NY Senator Chuck Schumer, and NY Congressman Peter King.
Sen. Schumer said in a statement at the time: “Mr. McAllister is a valued member of the Irish American community who has done nothing but productive things since seeking asylum here following an assassination attempt on him and his family during the Troubles. It achieves no positive benefit for America to deport him.”
A leaked email obtained by The Washington Examiner revealed that Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, had granted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s request not to deport an Irishman convicted of terrorist offenses.
In response to the six-month stay being granted, the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), of which McAllister is an active member, expressed their gratitude but indicated that the fight was not yet over.