Category: Archive

McAllister family on brink of deportation

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

And the Virginia-based Court of Immigration Appeals reversed a previous court decision to grant asylum to McAllister’s wife, Bernadette, and the couple’s four children.
Bernadette McAllister and the children have been given 30 days to leave the United States. Malachy McAllister’s departure could be much sooner than that.
The former INLA member, who is now a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, was attending a meeting Wednesday at the Capitol Hill office of Rep. Donald Payne when news came through of the immigration court’s decision.
“Now they can come and pick me up at any time,” McAllister said. “I feel completely shattered. So much for the Good Friday agreement.”
McAllister and his family fled Belfast a little more than 15 years ago after loyalist gunmen fired shots into their home. They have lived in New Jersey since arriving in the U.S.
“The kids were just babies when we got to America,” said McAllister, who celebrated 25 years of marriage to Bernadette a few days ago.
One of his children, 26-year-old Gary, is married to an American citizen, but despite this, he has also been included in the deportation order.
Attorneys for the McAllisters were working around the clock in order to file an emergency appeal in the federal 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia in an effort to block any immediate move to deport Malachy McAllister.
That same court, however, recently ruled in favor of deportation of another former INLA man, John Edward McNicholl, and refused to hear an appeal to suspend McNicholl’s deportation.
McNicholl was arrested and deported within days of the court’s decision. His wife, a U.S. citizen, and two of the couple’s three children, also citizens, were forced to follow McNicholl to Ireland because they could not afford the upkeep of the family home in Philadelphia.
The deportation of McNicholl was a cause of heightened concern for Malachy McAllister, in part because of what he perceived as a lack of community action in the cases of both the McNicholl family and his own.
“There has been no outrage, no stepping up to the plate,” McAllister said a few days before the court decision in his own case. “This issue should be important to all Irish Americans.
“What harm was John McNicholl doing, where was the threat to national security, why are they going after Irishmen?”
McAllister said he considered the prosecution of both the McNicholl case and his case to be a waste of taxpayer money.
“Why are they putting our families through all this,” he said. “We support the Good Friday peace agreement and the fight against terrorism as much as any American.”

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