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July 06, 2005

McAllister Waits As Judges Ponder

McAllister Waits As Judges Ponder

By Ray O'Hanlon

Malachy McAllister must now wait as three judges, all of them
women, ponder his and his family's fate.

Attorneys were given time to outline McAllister's appeal against
deportation before a three judge panel in a Newark federal
courtroom last week.

The panel is part of the federal third circuit court of appeals
based in Philadelphia and included Pennsylvania's First Lady and
the sister of real estate mogul Donald Trump.

"Malachy will likely have to wait at least a couple of months
before a decision his handed down," said attorney Eamonn Dornan.

Dornan said that he was pleased with the way that the hearing went
and felt that lawyers for the justice department had not fully
pressed the case against McAllister and his two dependent children.

At one point during the hearing, which lasted over an hour, Judge
Maryanne Trump Barry questioned the government's view of McAllister
as being a threat to U.S. national security.

The case was heard before Judge Trump Barry as well as Judge
Marjorie Rendell and Jane Roth.

Rendell's husband, Ed, is governor of Pennsylvania.

Attorney Dornan said that while the three judge's appeared
sympathetic to the McAllister family's plight, there was concern
that the court might feel that it did not possess sufficient
jurisdiction to decide the case and that greater discretion resided
in the office of the U.S. attorney general.

If that is the case, and if politics does ultimately decide
McAllister's fate then the Belfast man and onetime INLA member will
be able to turn to the backing of over forty members of congress
who signed a letter supporting his bid for a new life in America.

One of the signatories, New York Rep. Eliot Engel, said in a
statement coinciding with the court hearing that he knew the
McAllister family personally, that they had come to the U.s. as
refugees and had "lived the lives of model immigrants," working
hard and contributing to the community.

"They are no threat to the safety of the United States. They came
to make a better, and safer, life for themselves. In the process
they made their community, and their adopted country, better by
their contributions to it," Engel said.

Engel said he "enthusiastically" supported legislation introduced
by New Jersey rep. Rep. Steven Rothman to give the McAllister
family permanent legal status.

"I urge the Third District Court to hear this case with a
recognition that the United States has always welcomed those
fleeing persecution.

"Deporting the McAllisters is not what was intended by the new
asylum laws. Refugees have contributed greatly to this country. Let
the McAllisters continue in that American tradition. They, and
America, will be better off for it," Engel said.

The McAllisters fled Belfast after a loyalist gun attack on their

This story appeared in the issue of July 6 - 12

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