Menendez Decries Malachy McAllister's deportation

Senator Bob Menendez

By Irish Echo Staff


U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) has slammed the Department of Homeland Security for formally detaining Malachy McAllister for deportation - and then deporting him.

In a statement Menendez said: “Today is a sad day for the McAllister family and New Jersey’s Irish community. Deporting a community leader who poses no national security or public safety threat is not only a clear injustice, but also contrary to our nation’s values.

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"By forcefully deporting Mr. McAllister to a place he fled because his life was put in danger, the Trump Administration is showing the immorality of their indiscriminate immigration policies.”

Menendez, in his statement, said that DHS had planned to execute its deportation order despite Mr. McAllister recovering from a broken collar bone, lacerations and other injuries after he was hit by a car recently while riding his bicycle.

"DHS blatantly ignored his doctor's orders to rest, remain stationary and specifically not to travel, further risking Mr. McAllister’s health. Aside from his recent injuries, Mr. McAllister also suffers from severe asthma, which puts him at higher risk during the current COVID-19 pandemic," Senator Menendez said.

And he continued: "Mr. McAllister had been granted multiple stays of removal by DHS since 2007, but the Trump Administration refused to exercise prosecutorial discretion and allow him to remain in the country with his family.

“This man’s deportation is shameful and will not make America safer. Mr. McAllister is a good man who built a life for himself and his family in the United States for over 20 years and has been a tireless advocate for the Irish Peace Process, but Trump’s deportation force dismissed his extraordinary equities and will deport him anyways. I’m proud to have worked for many years to keep Malachy McAllister and his family together and hope they can be reunited in the future.”

Senator Menendez, said the statement, led efforts in the Senate to secure temporary reprieves for Mr. McAllister, including urging President Trump and DHS Acting Secretary Wolf to accept a longer-term solution that would keep the McAllister family together in the United States.

"In March 2019, Sen. Menendez introduced a private immigration bill that would make Mr. McAllister eligible for legal permanent resident status. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) unilaterally changed its private bill policy in May 2017, under President Trump, with no meaningful consultation with Congress, discarding the longstanding practice between two co-equal branches of government. The new policy extremely limits when and for how long a stay of removal is issued for beneficiaries of private bills.

"Mr. McAllister and his family fled Northern Ireland in 1988 to escape persecution for their political beliefs after pro-British loyalists fired 26 rounds of ammunition into his home, nearly injuring his children. He, his wife Bernadette, since deceased, and their four children left Ireland to escape these death threats. Mr. McAllister and his family have resided lawfully in New Jersey for over 20 years," the statement concluded.