News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

February 12, 2008

PR From The McAllister Family Campaign For Justice

Press Release From The McAllister Family Campaign For Justice

12 February 2008

Mark James (“Jamie”) McAllister, second eldest to Malachy
McAllister, was deported to Dublin from Newark Airport on
Friday, February 8, 2008. He was arrested and taken into
detention the previous Thursday, during what he was led to
believe was a routine meeting with Department of Homeland
Security (“DHS”) officials. Malachy and Jamie have for the
last four years been obligated to check in personally with
the DHS on a monthly basis: Malachy, because he was denied
political asylum, and Jamie because of an indiscretion
committed during his teenage years.

Now in his late twenties, Jamie’s youthful mistake
condemned him to deportation to a country which he, as a
small boy, fled with his family under fire from loyalist
paramilitaries. Jamie has known no life other than that of
a typical American boy growing up in a New Jersey
neighborhood surrounded by his siblings, parents and
supportive Irish-American community. The major difference
is that he was undocumented. Even though he is married to
an American citizen, his fate was sealed.

He lived through the long legal battle his parents fought
to gain political asylum for the entire family. He knows
how hard they have worked to build lives in their adoptive
country, and he witnessed the terrible toll it took on his
young mother who died a few years ago from cancer.

The McAllister Family Campaign for Justice has always stood
firmly on the cornerstone of keeping together this close-
knit family that fled from Belfast’s violent past, taking
our cue from Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights: “The family is the natural and fundamental
group unit of society and is entitled to protection by
society and the State.” The determination of the Irish-
American community to keep the family intact became more
critical after Bernadette McAllister’s death.

Today the McAllister family must endure further tragedy, as
they are separated by an ocean from a son, brother and
husband to whom they were not permitted to say farewell. In
a stranger’s clothing, and with only $20.00 in his
possession, Jamie McAllister was chained, shackled and
escorted by U. S. Federal Marshalls from the country and
people he loves, and dumped unceremoniously in the country
he fled from 20 years ago.

In her decision lamenting the treatment of the McAllister
family under the current harsh and impersonal immigration
laws, U.S. Federal Judge Maryanne Trump Barry complained
that “we cannot be the country we should be if…we knee-jerk
remove decent men and women merely because they may have
erred at one point in their lives,” and pleaded that “we
should look a little closer; we should care a little more.”
Clearly, the DHS is moved little by any such humanitarian

Contact: Carol Russell
P. O. Box 103,
Convent Station, NJ 07961-0103
Tel: 973-906-1034
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