Category: Archive

McAllister saga started in 1988

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Malachy McAllister and his wife, Bernadette, are away on vacation but the McAllister children and their grandmother are present in the house. Nobody is injured, but shortly afterward, and having been informed by police that Malachy is on a loyalist death list, the family flees Belfast for Canada. Their subsequent application for asylum and refugee status is eventually turned down.
March 1996: The McAllisters enter the U.S. through the border checkpoint at Niagara Falls. They are admitted as “nonimmigrant visitors for pleasure” but overstay their visas.
March 1997: After settling in Wallington, N.J., the family applies for political asylum.
May 1997: McAllisters undergo asylum-plea interviews at an INS office in New Jersey.
October 1998: In an extraordinary twist to the case, and while the family is still awaiting a verdict on their asylum plea, Malachy McAllister’s name is selected in the annual diversity visa lottery. However, McAllister’s bid for a green card is turned aside because of his INLA-related convictions in Northern Ireland. The decisions continue to go against the family, with the INS ruling in 1999 against the family’s asylum plea. The decision is appealed to a federal immigration judge in New Jersey.
October 2000: Federal immigration judge Henry Dogin orders that Malachy McAllister be deported, but in a separate ruling decrees that his wife, Bernadette, and the couple’s four children be allowed asylum in the U.S. Malachy McAllister appeals the decision against asylum to the Board of Immigration Appeals, while the U.S. Justice Department appeals the decision to grant asylum to his wife and family.
December 2000: The McAllisters were hopeful that the Clinton administration would move to suspend deportation proceedings against the family before President Clinton left office. This did not happen.
November 2003: Board of Immigration Appeals rejects Malachy McAllister’s appeal and turns aside the decision granting asylum to the rest of the family. As a result, all five McAllisters face deportation. Attorneys for the family file plea for stay of deportation with the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.
December 2003: Malachy McAllister surrenders at the office of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Newark, N.J. Amid a mounting political furor, he is released pending the decision by the appeals court in Philadelphia.

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