Category: Archive

RSF member still remanded in New York

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

A Republican Sinn Fein member who was arrested by INS agents last week on his way to an event in New York is still being held after an immigration court hearing and now faces deportation, the man’s attorney and officials said.

Phil Kent, who is in his 60s, is still being held in the Manhattan Correction Center on Varick Street in Manhattan as his removal proceedings move ahead, his lawyer and associates said. Kent faces another immigration court hearing on Thursday, and will ask to be sent back to Canada as soon as possible, said Jim Cullen, who is acting as Kent’s attorney.

Kent, who entered the United States from Canada, was arrested in a friend’s Long Island home a few days before he was scheduled to attend the Michael Flannery Memorial Dinner, organized by the Irish Freedom Committee at held more than a week ago at Rory Dolan’s in Yonkers.

Although a spokesman for the Immigration Court said no charges were listed on the record yet, an INS official said Kent had been arrested for entering the United States without inspection.

An Irish national and a longtime Republican, Kent currently lives in Canada, where he has a career as a real estate broker. He was arrested on Jan. 28 by five INS agents who entered the North Port home where he was staying, according to officials.

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"I think immigration thought he was going to be a speaker at the dinner, but he was just there for his presence really," Cullen said. "He’s come to the U.S. before. I think they were just being political."

Republican Sinn Fein, formed after a republican split in the 1970s, has been linked to the Continuity IRA and its members are staunch opponents of the Good Friday peace agreement. They criticize the Belfast document as a partitionist solution to Northern Ireland’s problems.

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