Malachy McAllister discussing his case with Hillary Clinton at a pre-primary rally at Fitzpatrick Grand Central Hotel in Manhattan on Monday night.
By Ray O’Hanlon
With just a week to go before his scheduled deportation from the United States, Malachy McAllister last night met with former Secretary of State and leading Democratic presidential contender, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The meeting, which was arranged with the support of attorney Brian O’Dwyer and Dan Dennehy, immigration spokesman for the Ancient Order of Hibernians, took place at an Irish American rally for Clinton on the eve of today’s New York primary.
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McAllister took the opportunity to explain the urgency of his situation to a sympathetic Clinton.
Even as the meeting was taking place, McAllister was being supported in his bid to hang on to his American life by 44 members of the U.S. of Representatives, Democrat and Republican.
McAllister is scheduled for deportation on Monday, April 25.
The congressional effort to prevent the McAllister’s deportation has been growing as the Belfast man contemplates reporting for “removal” from the United States at the Newark office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Congressman Joe Crowley of New York, and Representatives Peter King of New York and Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, have 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.
It is those letters that have attracted the sign-on signatures of now dozens of congressional legislators.
Crowley has 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 recently on the Adrian Flannelly radio 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 – this 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, who is the father of a four-year-old U.S. citizen child, 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 with him “a small travel bag.”
With regard to the sign-on letter statement issued by Rep. Crowley’s office stated: “Reps. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus and co-chair of the Congressional Ad-Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs, Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Peter King (R-NY), co-chair of Friends of Ireland, Richard Neal (D-MA), co-chair of Friends of Ireland, and Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs, led a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement urging the agency to intervene to stop the deportation of Malachy McAllister.
“The letter was signed by 44 bipartisan Members of Congress.”