On the eve of the 18th anniversary of the historic Good Friday Agreement of 1998, brokered by the United States, which brought an end to decades of violent conflict in Northern Ireland, the period known as “the Troubles” has raised yet another casualty.
Malachy McAllister, a stonemason and restaurateur who has been resident in Rutherford, NJ for 20 years, fled Belfast in 1998 with his young family following a vicious gun attack on his home and children by a Loyalist terror gang, which was to propel him through the asylum systems in Canada and the United States for the next 15 years.
When his legal options became exhausted before a Federal Court of Appeals in 2006, Judge Maryanne Trump-Barry made a plaintive call from the bench for relief from the executive, opining that: “I refuse to believe that "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free ..." is now an empty entreaty. But if it is, shame on us.” Judge Trump-Barry concluded:
…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 Department of Homeland Security, responding to these sentiments and similar pleas from a bi-partisan group of Congressional leaders, allowed Mr. McAllister and his family to remain under its “prosecutorial discretion” policy for low-priority immigrants. On Thursday, March 24, 2016, Mr. McAllister’s safety net was swiftly and unexpectedly withdrawn.
Mr. McAllister stated:
I am shocked and deeply saddened that, after 20 years, I am to be ripped from my family, my infant son, my business and community to a country I had to flee from nearly 30 years ago to bring my young family to safety.
Mr. McAllister has developed deep ties to the Irish-American community in the Tri-State area, and enjoys support from many Irish American groups in relation to his campaign to remain. Elected Chairman of the United Irish Counties organization’s prestigious dinner in 2009, he had the honor of introducing US Special Peace Envoy to Northern Ireland, Senator George Mitchell. He was aide to the Grand Marshall of the 2010 New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, namely, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Recently, Mr. McAllister was made aware of information which confirmed his reasons for fleeing his home country. Recently declassified military intelligence documents disclosed by Sir Desmond de Silva following his review of collusion between security forces and Loyalist terrorists in Northern Ireland in the murder of human rights lawyer, Patrick Finucane, reveals that Mr. McAllister had been targeted for assassination by Loyalist terrorists with the knowledge and support of the security services in Northern Ireland.
Mr. McAllister, who tragically lost his wife Bernadette during his fight to remain, continued:
My only desire for my family was to stake a piece of ground on the Eastern seaboard of the United States which we can finally call home. The past should remain where we left it.