Malachy McAllister with his son Jamie outside St. Malachy's Church in Belfast Friday. Photo courtesy Mark Thompson.
By Ray O'Hanlon
Decrying what it described as "ICE statement hyperbole," the Ancient Order of Hibernians has accused U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of a :"desperate attempt to justify deporting grandfather" Malachy McAllister.
In a statement, the Hibernians stated that "not content to merely deport Malachy McAllister, a U.S. resident, a leader in the Irish American Community, a father and grandfather to U.S. citizens, it now seems that ICE's district office in Newark spokesman is intent on rewriting the past."
The statement, issued by AOH National Political Education Chairman Neil Cosgrove, continued: "Since one assumes that ICE would be well acquainted with the facts of Mr. McAllister's case, the inaccuracies in comments ascribed to (an ICE spokesman) in the article 'Rutherford man who fled Troubles in Northern Ireland is deported by ICE' makes one wonder if the comments are coming from ICE or George Orwell's 'Ministry of Truth.'
"The ICE spokesman is factually incorrect when he states that Mr. McAllister has 'has a lengthy history of terrorism-related crime in Ireland' and 'multiple other convictions.' Malachy McAllister has never made secret that he was incarcerated during the conflict in Northern Ireland as a result of one case tried in a judicial system cited numerous times by organizations such as Amnesty International for their violations of due process and the rights of the accused.
"There is no 'lengthy history' nor 'multiple other convictions. Mr. McAllister served three years and seven months, not seven years, as stated in the article, and was released for good behavior, a significant omission.
"Equally omitted in the bowdlerized and inaccurate version of Mr. McAllister's personal history is the attack on the McAllister home which caused him to seek asylum in the United States; an attack in which his house was sprayed with submachine gunfire at a time when only the McAllister children and his mother-in-law where inside.
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"Evidence of this attack was presented and accepted as authentic by U.S. Immigration Judge Henry Dogin. The Hon. Sir Desmond De Silva QC, during his investigation of the murder of Northern Ireland civil right lawyer Pat Finucane, reconfirmed the validity of the evidence while uncovering a shocking level of collusion between loyalist paramilitaries, the British Army and British Intelligence."
Winston Rea was currently on trial in Belfast for the attempted murder of Malachy McAllister, along with two other murders.
The AOH statment added: "Evidence has been presented that the car used by the perpetrators belonged to confirmed British Intelligence asset Brian Nelson and that the gun that fired into the McAllister home was one of a shipment of weapons that Nelson delivered to loyalist paramilitaries to establish his cover. Given the active role of the state in the targeting of the McAllister home, there should be no disputing the legitimacy of the fears for his family.
"The hyperbole of the comments by ICE would appear a desperate need to justify the deportation of a man who has lived peaceably in the Untitled States for over two decades and done nothing but contribute positively to the American community, establishing two successful taxpaying, job-producing businesses.
"Perhaps ICE feels the need to embellish and dramatize Mr. McAllister's past to justify the need in their zeal to deport this grandfather to charter an 'Air Ambulance' at considerable taxpayer expense, Mr. McAllister still recovering from a recent accident, rather than allowing this man who has lived here peacefully for 24 years the time necessary to heal and travel on a less expensive commercial flight and without physical pain.
"It is bad enough that ICE has taken Mr. McAllister's home, community, and grandchildren from him, but now they seek to rewrite his past," the statement concluded.