Congressman Eliot Engel with Malachy McAllister
By Ray O’Hanlon
As Malachy McAlister enters what is possibly his last week in America, efforts are being stepped up in the House of Representatives to move forward legislation that would grant the Belfast man and his family legal permanent residence in the U.S.
Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is leading the effort in advocating for McAllister and his family.
In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, Engel, and six other House members, have pressed for passage of a private relief bill that is before the judiciary panel.
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In addition to Chairman Engel, the letter is also signed by Representatives Peter King, Richard Neal, William Keating, Brendan Boyle, Thomas Suozzi, and Joseph Kennedy, III.
The letter states: “Dear Chairs Nadler and Lofgren and Ranking Members Collins and Buck:
We respectfully urge the Judiciary Committee to pass H.R. 1547, a bill that grants lawful permanent residence to Malachy McAllister and his children, Nicola McAllister and Sean Ryan McAllister.
“In 1988, the McAllister family was forced to flee Belfast, Northern Ireland because of brutal attacks on them by Loyalist paramilitaries and ultimately sought refuge in the United States twenty years ago. Since first coming to reside in the United States, Mr. McAllister has proven himself a model citizen and an upstanding member of American society.
“In fact, he represents the highest aspirations of the American dream – coming to this country with nothing, fleeing persecution, but ultimately starting his own construction business and building a family. He has worked hard, paid his taxes, and has employed American citizens and helped them feed their families for two decades.
“The members of the McAllister family have received stays of deportation and deferred action for many years, under different Administrations. It is now time to grant permanent relief to this family so they may carry on with their lives. Mr. McAllister continues to face the psychological torment that comes with living his life a few months at a time. This strain has also taken a significant toll on his family – including his American-born son and his five American-born grandchildren.
“Mr. McAllister has long since earned his place in the United States. Accordingly, we respectfully request that the Judiciary Committee take up H.R. 1547 and pass the private relief bill so that Mr. McAllister and his family can continue to live out their lives as upstanding contributors to the American community.”
As things stand, Malachy McAllister is required to report for deportation from the U.S. at the end of this week, on the day after Thanksgiving.