A leader of the House Homeland Security Committee in the US Congress has become the first American politician to back Maze escapee Pol Brennan's request for bail from the Texas prison where he's been held since January 27.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph New York Congressman Peter King said: " My experience dealing with (Irish) republicans is that they don't jump bail in this country. They honour their commitments."
King, who's been the top-ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee since yielding its chairmanship to a Democrat in 2007, added: " So, based on my experience, and also the republican movement's commitment to the peace process, I think he should get bail."
Brennan was detained at a US immigration checkpoint in Texas, 100 miles from the Mexican border, while en route to visit friends.
He was initially held over an expired US-issued work permit. However, when a computer background check revealed his role in the mass IRA jailbreak of 38 prisoners from the Maze in September 1983, he was taken to Port Isabel Detention Center in Los Fresnos, Texas, where he remains.
US authorities have known about Brennan's whereabouts since the FBI arrested him in Berkley, California in 1993.
Although Britain dropped its seven-year drive to have Brennan extradited in 2000, Department of Homeland Security prosecutors now want him deported because he entered the US using a phony name months after the escape.
In April, Texas immigration judge Howard Achtsam rejected Brennan's bail petition because he deemed the Ballymurphy native a flight risk, and a danger to society, due to a misdemeanor 2006 assault conviction.
Brennan's lawyer has appealed the bail denial, arguing that Brennan's strict observance of bail terms when twice freed from US custody in the 1990s during pending British extradition moves, proves that he isn't a flight risk.
After four months in solitary confinement, Brennan was recently moved back into a dormitory-style lockup with 60 other prisoners , where he has access to several hours of outdoor daily exercise.
Meanwhile, Paul Lynch, a Labour Party Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in Australia's New South Wales assembly, has written to the US consulate general in Sydney, Judith Fergin, to express concern over Brennan's continued detention, which he called "at best, absurd."
Lynch told the Belfast Telegraph that he also can't understand why Brennan is being denied bail.
"At an earlier time, Pol Brennan was allowed bail and reported back to face the tribunal," Lynch said "That having been the case in the past — given that the Good Friday Agreement has since occurred — it seems utterly bizarre that he wouldn't be allowed bail now."
Brennan's next court date is on August 12, when immigration Judge Howard Achtsam will consider whether or not to grant Brennan a green card, based on his 19-year marriage to his American wife, Joanna Olz.
A favourable ruling by Achtsam, who has a track record of overwhelming ruling against immigrant asylum petitions, would mean that Brennan would then receive permanent residency in the US.