Former INLA terrorist escapes US deportation after Donald Trump's intervention
A former INLA terrorist who set up a family in America has escaped deportation thanks to US President Donald Trump.
Malachy McAllister — originally from Belfast — had been told he must leave the United States by November 30.
But McAllister was last weekend handed a six-month reprieve by the White House. He could still be booted out of the country next May.
The dramatic move follows intense lobbying by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Senator Chuck Schumer, Congressman Peter King, Eliot Engel and the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
McAllister, who was jailed for acting as an armed INLA lookout, fled Northern Ireland in the late 1980s after loyalists fired shots at his home.
He was told he had to leave the US earlier this year after he reported to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation and removals office.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers from New York had lobbied for McAllister to be allowed to stay in the US despite a 2017 immigration policy change that raised the legal bar for temporary relief for deportation. He had been due to be deported last week.
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A senior official with the Department of Homeland Security, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed McAllister had received a six-month stay, calling the move “an act of generosity” by US President Donald Trump in light of lobbying by members of Congress.
“Whatever happened back in Belfast, he’s paid his time,” said New York Democratic Representative Eliot Engel. “He’s a different person now.”
In response to the six-month stay being granted, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, of which McAllister is an active member, expressed their gratitude but indicated that the fight was not yet over.
Senator Schumer added: “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. It achieves no positive benefit for America to deport him.”
The former republican was jailed for seven years for two INLA attacks on RUC officers during the 1981 hunger strikes.
He was released in 1985 and sought asylum in America in 1996, but his application has been repeatedly refused because the immigration authorities classify his crimes as ‘terrorist’ in nature.
The 2012 report by Sir Desmond de Silva into collusion found that members of the security forces supplied a loyalist agent with a photograph of McAllister. The Red Hand Commando used that image to find his home, which was hit by 26 bullets in 1988.
Belfast Telegraph Digital