Senator Charles Schumer with Malachy McAllister
By Irish Echo Staff
Senator Charles Schumer of New York and Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey have jointly written to the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, in support of Malachy McAllister.
McAllister is facing deportation from the U.S. as early as tomorrow, Friday, June 5.
In their letter the senators, both Democrats, state: “We are writing to ask for your immediate intervention in the case of Malachy McAllister who is scheduled to be deported on Friday, June 5, 2020.
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“Of immediate concern is that Mr. McAllister was hit by a car while riding his bicycle on May 27 and suffered a broken collar bone in addition to lacerations. He is under doctor’s orders to rest and remain stationary and specifically not to travel.
“Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been alerted to these events and has been provided with the police report of the accident, hospital records and Mr. McAllister’s physician’s letter. A flight at this time would be against medical advice. This risk is compounded by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. McAllister suffers from severe asthma requiring rounds of steroid medication. ICE has also been provided proof of such treatments.
“Of broader concern is that the circumstances of Mr. McAllister’s case, detailed below, strongly warrant a longer-term solution. We request that you exercise prosecutorial discretion and grant him indefinite deferred action.
“On March 5, 2019, Senator Menendez introduced private bill, S. 653, which would make Malachy McAllister eligible for legal permanent resident status. A private immigration bill is an exceptional measure for individuals with extraordinary equities and is the only form of permanent relief available to Mr. McAllister. Efforts to pass this legislation continue in theSenate and House of Representatives.
“Mr. McAllister fled Belfast in 1988 after narrowly escaping an assassination attempt by pro-British Loyalist paramilitaries, who fired 26 shots into his house while his mother-in-law and children were at home. This attack compelled him to seek safety in Canada, and then the United States, where he promptly applied for political asylum. Unfortunately Mr. McAllister’s application for asylum was denied. Yet, in recognition of the danger Mr. McAllister would face at home and his positive contributions to U.S. society, he has been granted deferred action from deportation in the years since.
In 2006 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit expressed regret that it lacked the statutory tools to resolve Mr. McAllister’s case, but found that Malachy McAllister demonstrably posed no danger to the safety and security of the United States. Nevertheless, he was forever barred from asylum or any other relief as an alien found to have ‘engaged in terrorist activities’ without regard to the circumstances under which his offenses were committed, or the length of time that had expired since those offenses were committed.
“At that time the Third Circuit Court made a plea to the Attorney General to find the means to provide political relief for Malachy McAllister and his children. In her concurring opinion in McAllister v. Atty. Gen, 444 F.3d 178, Judge Maryanne Trump-Barry stated: ‘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.’”
The letter from the senators continued: “ Although Mr. McAllister is the beneficiary of an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative filed by his U.S. Citizen son, Paul Gary McAllister, he is permanently precluded from adjustment of his status to legal permanent resident on the same grounds for which he was denied asylum and found removable.
“Mr. McAllister has developed deep ties to the Irish-American community in the Tri-State area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. He had been a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (“AOH”) for 20 years and served on its New Jersey State Board. He was elected Chairman of the United Irish Counties Association event in 2009, which hosted and recognized Former Senator George Mitchell for his work on the Good Friday Agreement. He was also appointed as an aide to the 2010 New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshall, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
“In late 2012, new information shed light on the distressing circumstances surrounding the attack on Mr. McAllister and his family. The ‘de Silva Report,’ drafted with the support of the government of the United Kingdom, publicly acknowledged that government security forces leaked information to Loyalist paramilitary groups. The ‘de Silva Report’ also makes explicit reference to an incident that clearly describes the attack on Mr. McAllister and his family. The report indicates that state security services were aware of the planned attack but failed to warn Mr. McAllister and his family.
“In October 2013, an action was issued on behalf of Malachy McAllister and his children in the High Court in Belfast, McAllister v. Chief Constable PSNI, 2013 No. 099762, seeking redress against state agencies for their role in providing assistance to Loyalist terrorists in the targeting of Malachy McAllister for assassination.
“In 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts ordered disclosure to the PSNI of interview materials pertaining to Winston Churchill Rea, who had provided an interview to Boston College as part of its ‘Belfast Project’ academic oral history project. Mr. Rea was subsequently prosecuted on June 6, 2016 for, inter alia, the attempted murder of Malachy McAllister on October 2, 1988. We anticipate that the prosecution of this action may result in further disclosure of information concerning the attack on Malachy’s home and family, and the extent of the involvement of elements of the security forces in the planning of the gun attack.
“The collusion referenced in this report and subsequent disclosures has Mr. McAllister fearing for his life along with the fears for his health and well-being if he is deported during this pandemic.
“We are making this request because of our personal knowledge of Mr. McAllister who has lived in the United States for more than twenty years and has proven himself to be absolutely no threat to this country. While Mr. McAllister was involved in paramilitary activities in Northern Ireland more than two decades ago, as were so many others, he has been a strong proponent of the Irish Peace Process in accordance with the policies of the Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump Administrations. During the time of the Good Friday Agreement Mr. McAllister played a leading role in urging the Irish-American community to support a negotiated peace and has continued those efforts.
“We respectfully request you stop his deportation and grant him indefinite deferred action. Thank you for your consideration.
The letter from the two senators follows a similar letter to Acting Secretary Wolf from four members of the House of Representatives, two of them Republican, two of them Democrats.
Separately, the Ancient Order of Hibernians has launched a campaign with members directing appeals to the White House on behalf of McAllister, who lives in new Jersey.