The Irish American Unity Conference, in a letter to the U.S. State Department, said it was concerned at reports that Thatcher, son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was seeking to return to the U.S.
“Irish-Americans are most anxious that the full rigors of our nation’s immigration laws be employed to exclude this international criminal, coup plotter, and gunrunner,” the letter, signed by IAUC National President Andrew Somers, stated.
It is believed Thatcher is attempting to renew his U.S. visa so that he can be with his American wife and two children in Texas.
It said that Thatcher’s guilty plea rendered him inadmissible for having committed “a crime involving moral turpitude” under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Such inadmissibility, the letter acknowledged, could be waived by the U.S. attorney general. But Thatcher, it continued, might also be inadmissible under the act’s provisions prohibiting terrorists from entering the United States and from which no waiver was possible.
It was notable, said Somers, that the moral-turpitude label had been employed “extremely liberally” in relation to Irish nationals to the long-term detriment of their U.S. citizen families.
The offenses of these Irish nationals, he said, were “diminutive” in comparison to Thatcher’s.
“Given the current proficiency with which the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security exclude those aliens who have been convicted abroad, especially those who have provided ‘material support’ to terrorists, we would expect Sir Mark will be given the third degree in his request for a visa at the U.S. Embassy in either London or Frankfurt,” Somers wrote.
He said that even if Thatcher successfully managed to lawfully enter the United States pursuant to a waiver of inadmissibility, the IAUC would expect that the State Department would alert the Department of Justice and that Thatcher would be greeted on arrival by a members of a Joint Terrorism Task Force, interrogated and charged with federal offenses.
“We also expect, after a pattern, that he would be detained for the entire period of his trial with no right to bond, and separated from his U.S. family, as has been the case with Ciaran Ferry,” Somers added.
Such treatment, said Somers, would be consistent with recent events, “unless, of course, there is one law for the rich and powerful, and one for the poor.”
In a separate letter to the Bush administration’s envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process, Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, Father Sean McManus of the Washington D.C.-based Irish National Caucus pressed Reiss “to make sure that the U.S. does not apply a double standard” in the Thatcher case.
Such an outcome, wrote McManus, would mean “one set of rules for the English Establishment and another for Irish Catholics”.
If the U.S. was to avoid such a double standard, McManus wrote, it must ban Mark Thatcher from the U.S. just it had banned Irish Catholics with convictions against them.
“Now that the peace process is in such jeopardy, the U.S. must not be seen exercising a double standard by favoring the privileged and punishing the poor, like Ciaran Ferry,” McManus stated.
Ferry, a former IRA man, was recently deported from the U.S. after being locked up for two years in a Colorado jail. His U.S. citizen wife and daughter are still in Colorado.