It took the intervention of a U.S. president to lay the groundwork for a situation that barely passes as peaceful even now. Many, therefore, would rightly expect that other arms of the U.S. government would recognize a degree of legitimacy in the desire of some who have been affected by the Troubles to remain safely in the United States.
This is the case with the McAllister family, indeed all those who can be considered members of the dubiously select club known as the deportees. The McAllisters face dangers in Northern Ireland but apparently not dangers extreme enough to warrant political asylum. That, at least, is the view of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which has appealed a court ruling that would grant Bernadette McAllister and her four children asylum.
This position rests heavily on the strict legalities of the McAllister case. But there is, as always, an additional political dimension at work. It is one that takes a broader view of a situation that will, one way or another, profoundly affect the lives of a family that seeks nothing more than a normal life in the U.S.
We can only hope that the broader political view will now prevail and that, with the recent support of a number of congressmen, President Clinton will see fit to allow the McAllisters to spend this Thanksgiving, this Christmas, and as many more holidays as they like, in the U.S. The same should apply to all the other deportees facing the uncertainties spawned by a political and security situation 3,000 miles away.
President Clinton has a few more weeks to act on behalf of the deportees. We urge him to do so.
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