Malachy McAllister marching with the United Irish Counties in the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Former parade chairman John Dunleavy is in the foreground. Photo by Dominick Totino.
By Ray O’Hanlon
The congressional effort to prevent the deportation of Malachy McAllister is being ramped up this week as the Belfast man enters the final two weeks before he must report for “removal” from the United States.
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Private members bills are being drawn up in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate on behalf of the Belfast man who lives in New Jersey, but is a partner in a bar and restaurant business in Manhattan.
Congressman Joe Crowley, speaking on the Adrian Flannelly Irish Radio show on Saturday, indicated that legislators in Congress would be stepping up their efforts to secure an American life for McAllister, who is the father of a four-year-old U.S. citizen son.
New Yorker Crowley, and Representatives Peter King of New York and New Jersey’s Bill Pascrell, have already written letters on McAllister’s behalf to Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, and the Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Sarah Saldaña.
Crowley told Flannelly that he had also made direct contact with Saldaña’s office on behalf of McAllister, who fled Belfast with his wife and then four children in 1988, this after loyalists attacked his Belfast home, firing 26 bullets into the living room.
Over the twenty years that he has lived in the United States McAllister, who lost his wife Bernadette to cancer in 2004, has pleaded for asylum on two occasions and both times was denied.
However, support from leading political figures, not least Senator Bob Menendez in New Jersey, has resulted in McAllister being able to remain in the U.S. on a year-to-year basis.
Speaking on the Flannelly show, Rep. Crowley, a Democrat whose district spans Queens and the Bronx, said that he was of the view that if evidence that has since surfaced – in a report on loyalist violence and security forces collusion compiled by Sir Desmond De Silva – was now presented on McAllister’s behalf, he would be deemed eligible for political asylum.
McAllister has been ordered to present himself at the Department of Homeland Security offices in Newark on Monday, April 25 for a process known as “surrender for removal.”
He has been instructed to bring “a small travel bag.”