Malachy McAllister with Senator Charles Schumer in Washington Wednesday
By Ray O’Hanlon
With just over a week to go before his scheduled deportation from the U.S., Malachy McAllister traveled to Washington, D.C. for a series of meetings with sympathetic legislators on Capitol Hill, including Senator Charles Schumer, a longtime supporter of the Belfast man’s bid to live a fully legal life in America along with his family.
McAllister traveled to the nation’s capital with fellow members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. And as he was doing so AOH National President, Judge James McKay, penned a letter to President Trump requesting a stay of deportation.
“Today I was proud to meet with Mr. McAllister and the Ancient Order of Hibernians,” Senator Schumer said in a statement.
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“Mr. McAllister is a valued member of the Irish American community who has done nothing but productive things since seeking asylum here following an assassination attempt on him and his family during the Troubles,” added the Senate Minority Leader.
“He is a father and grandfather to U.S. citizen children, is a strong supporter of the Irish peace process and it achieves no positive benefit for America to deport him.
“I am working hard in a bipartisan way on this and strongly urge the Trump administration not to deport Mr. McAllister and instead allow him to remain here with his family.”
Judge McKay, in his letter to President Trump, stated that since legally entering the United States over twenty years ago and applying for asylum, numerous judges hearing the case, including the President’s sister Judge Maryanne Trump-Barry, have noted that the current law did not anticipate or provide for the unique situation of the McAllister family.
Judge McKay noted that legislation is currently pending in both houses of Congress with bipartisan backing and that the Hibernians are asking that the President stay Mr. McAllister’s deportation to allow this legislation an opportunity to advance.
The letter reads: “I write to you [Mr. President] to request a stay of deportations for one of our members, Malachy McAllister, and his family currently scheduled for November 29, 2019.
“Mr. McAllister’s situation was eloquently summarized by your sister, Judge Maryanne Trump-Barry, in issuing her opinion in the case McAllister v. Atty. Gen, 444 F.3d 178 in which she made an unprecedented appeal to the Attorney General: ‘It simply should not be that, particularly in circumstances such as those we now have before us, the individual and his individuality are largely, if not entirely, irrelevant, lost in a sea of dispositive definitions and harsh and complex laws.
‘And we cannot be the country we should be if, because of the tragic events of September 11th, we knee-jerk remove decent men and women merely because they may have erred at one point in their lives. We should look a little closer; we should care a little more. I would ask — no, I would implore — the Attorney General to exercise his discretion and permit this deserving family to stay.’
“Mr. McAllister has never denied that he served time in a Northern Ireland prison for actions he took as a youth during “the Troubles” some 36 years ago. Mr. McAllister fully discharged his obligation under the presiding judicial system, being released early due to his good behavior.
“Shortly thereafter, Loyalist paramilitaries sprayed his family’s home with automatic weapons fire, barely missing his young children and mother-in-law. Mr. McAllister and his family fled Belfast and came to the United States seeking the promise of refuge from persecution and violence that America has traditionally offered the oppressed.
“During his time in the United States, Mr. McAllister has complied with all U.S. law, started two successful job-producing businesses, and, due to the untimely death of his first wife, raised two families with children and grandchildren who are American citizens.
“Throughout Mr. McAllister’s asylum application and appeal, eminent jurists such as Judge Trump-Barry have observed that justice in the case of Mr. McAllister is being sacrificed on the altar of the law.
“While denying Mr. McAllister’s asylum request, Judge Henry S. Dogin characterized the attack on the McAllister home as ‘the most striking and blatant act of persecution, and the one that undoubtedly stands on its own as evidence of past persecution.’
“The case of Malachy McAllister is indeed a case of justice being ‘lost in a sea of dispositive definitions.’ It is for this reason the McAllister case has achieved what has sadly become an all too rare occurrence in our current government: bipartisan and bicameral consensus to rectify a case where the law does not represent justice. There is currently legislation in both houses of Congress to provide relief to the McAllister family.
“We ask your assistance Mr. President, as our nation’s Chief Executive, to provide the space needed for the legislative process to work in the cause of justice by issuing an order staying the 11/29/19 deportation of Malachy McAllister.”