Category Archives: new jersey

IAUC statement regarding the deportation proceedings against Malachy, Sean and Nicola McAllister

October 1, 2007—The IAUC has dedicated itself to the idea that peace can only occur in an atmosphere that promotes frank and open dialogue amongst all parties to the conflict in the North of Ireland.  This includes the United States of America, which acting as an “honest broker,” facilitated a political atmosphere that allowed for the birth of the current peace process.  The end product of a lasting peace based on enduring democratic principles is now at hand.  Recognizing this, the IAUC has welded itself to the role of identifying and speaking out against anyone and anything which has the potential to thwart the development of the peace and democracy in which so many people and groups have invested so much commitment and energy.

In this spirit, the IAUC must state forthrightly that the United States Government, by actively pursuing the deportation of former Irish Republican activists, is markedly out of step with all other parties involved in this political endeavor.  The US policy is anachronistic and undermines the concept of a “peace dividend.”  By extension this policy will undermine the peace itself.

We urge our government, through our elected representatives and appointed officials, to stand for peace in Ireland.  With all the conviction we can muster, we request that the McAllister family be granted permanent resident status.  To deny this family legal status would be an affront to our country’s longstanding principles of justice and asylum.

Stop the deportation of the McAllister family.

John Fogarty
President
Irish American Unity Conference

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Filed under deportation, human rights, ireland, Irish peace process, loyalist paramilitaries, new jersey, political prisoners

Stop the deportation of the McAllister family

Malachy with Police Ombudsman Nuala O’LoanMatt Morrison, a former Irish republican political prisoner and current Political Action Chair of the Irish American Unity Conference, issued this statement in response to the announcement that Malachy McAllister and his sons may be deported in 2 weeks time:

A Chairde, As a former Irish Republican POW and deportee, I abhor the planned deportation of Malachy Mc Alliister and his family members by the United States Government. It was not many years ago that I and my family along with a number of my comrades and their families, were in a similar predicament.

For many years, the “peace dividend” was held out as an incentive to engage in the process which ultimately resulted in the current peace in Ireland. The United States Government, in pursuing Malachy Mc Allister’s deportation, is undermining the concept of the peace dividend, and is sending out a message that is driven by a desire for retribution that is dangerously irrational and anachronistic. The United States Government has placed itself at odds with the people of Ireland who are working hard to achieve a lasting peace based on the twin foundations of democracy and equality. The United States Government is undermining the new powersharing assembly and is thwarting the efforts of the Irish and British Governments and the numerous political parties who have engaged in peace building efforts.

You cannot say that you are for peace in Ireland and yet remain silent or inactive in the face of the imminent McAllister deportation.

Here is some background on the McAllister case for those of you who are not familiar:

The McAllisters are a Catholic family from Northern Ireland who have been seeking political asylum in the United States since 1996. On October 2, 1988, two masked loyalist gunmen smashed the front window of the McAllister home and fired 26 shots into the house narrowly missing three of the McAllister children and their grandmother, who was minding them. Malachy and his wife, Bernadette (who has since died of cancer in 2004), were not home at the time. They were later notified by the Royal Ulster Constabulary that Malachy’s security information was found in a loyalist ‘safe house’ along with the guns used in the shooting. This information confirmed that the McAllisters were being deliberately targeted and that the loyalist attack had been planned in collusion with the security forces. Other members of the McAllister’s family had also been targeted. Theresa Clinton, a relative, was murdered when loyalists fired shots into her living room. Bernadette’s family members had been warned by the RUC to take security precautions because, like Malachy, their personal details were in the hands of paramilitary organizations. The threats have followed the McAllisters even here to the United States. In 2005, a loyalist terror group called the Red Hand Defenders emailed a threat against the McAllisters to the Irish Echo newspaper stating that, “We won’t miss next time.”

It is not clear why the government has chosen to proceed in the McAllister case, while suspending action on many of the other Irish ‘deportee’ cases. The McAllisters have had the constant support of a number of our congressmen and senators, whose intervention resulted in a ‘suspension of order of removal’. Unfortunately, that stay expires in early September. Congressman Steven Rothman introduced a private bill in the House and now the McAllisters only hope may be if Senator Menendez will introduce legislation in the Senate to delay or suspend the McAllister’s deportation.

Act now to prevent this injustice by contacting Menendez and urging him to introduce legislation to protect the McAllister family and prevent their deportation. Cut and paste the letter below and send and/or fax it (202.228.2197) to Senator Menendez’s office today. You can also call his office directly at 202.224.4744.

Dear Senator Menendez,
As a member of (insert name of org. if applicable) I am well aware of the invaluable support you have given to many important Irish issues and express my gratitude for your constancy and courage. I am particularly grateful for the leadership role you assumed in defending Malachy McAllister and his family when they were first threatened with deportation some years ago. Sadly, that threat still looms over the McAllister family.
Malachy and his two youngest children are facing deportation when the suspension of their order of removal expires in early September. They have been advised by Congressman Steven Rothman that a private bill in the Senate, similar to one attempted by Mr. Rothman in the House, would be their only hope to remain in New Jersey with the older McAllister children and their families. This legislation is crucial to secure the safety of Malachy and his children.

The blatant threats of violence that have been made against the McAllister family still stand. Despite the many welcome improvements brought about by the Peace Process, the reality is that loyalist paramilitaries have refused to decommission and are still armed and threatening. Many believe that if forced to return to Northern Ireland the McAllisters will once again be the targets of violence.

I respectfully request that you give this matter your immediate attention and introduce legislation in the Senate as soon as possible. Again, I thank you for the courage and leadership you have shown over the years in addressing many vital Irish issues.

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Filed under belfast, deportation, ireland, loyalist, loyalist paramilitaries, new jersey, political prisoners

House Foreign Affairs Committee passes Finucane Resolution

The resolution, HR 20, was written by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), and was approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday, January 23rd.  A similar resolution was passed by the House last year, but did not make it out of committee in the Senate.  Let’s hope that the recent collusion report by the Police Ombudsman will put that in motion again.

Read about the resolution here.

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Filed under collusion, Irish peace process, new jersey, pat finucane, policing

Panel recommends Jersey drop death penalty

the j-holeThe new year at our house means, in part, a new subscription to the New York Times. An article on today’s front page about New Jersey (which I most fondly refer to as “the j-hole”) immediately caught my attention. Apparently, a legislative commission has recommended that New Jersey end the death penalty and replace it with life sentences without the possibility of parole–making New Jersey the first state in more than 35 years to drop the death penalty. Granted, there has not yet been a vote on this issue, but according to the article by Laura Mansnerus, the situation looks very promising. The Death Penalty Study Commission report has already been embraced by Governor Jon Corzine, who we know just last month signed into law legislation that allows gay couples all of the rights of legal marriage (except the title).

According to Mansnerus, the report did not find any compelling evidence to support the idea that capital punishment serves a legitimate purpose, and went on to claim that there is increasing evidence that the death penalty “is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency.” The findings of the report reflect a growing shift in the public perception of capital punishment:

If the Legislature did abolish the death penalty, it would be the first to do so since the United States Supreme Court halted all executions in 1972 — after which 38 states rewrote their laws to reinstate the practice. New Jersey restored the death penalty in 1982.

But a repeal would be in line with a nationwide retreat from executions, with the annual count declining by nearly half since 1999. A nationwide Gallup telephone poll in 2006 found Americans almost evenly divided when asked whether a death sentence or life without the possibility of parole was a preferable punishment for murder, after years of previous polls in which a majority supported the death penalty.

“We’re in a period of national reconsideration of the death penalty,” said Austin D. Sarat, a professor of political science and law at Amherst College in Massachusetts. “I believe what’s happening in New Jersey will have a tremendously galvanizing effect.”

Richard C. Dieter, the director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, attributed the sea change to the many wrongful convictions exposed by DNA evidence. “That is the wedge that has made the death penalty difficult to fix,” Mr. Dieter said. “It’s all related to the scientific revolution we’ve had in the last 10 years.”

Though there may be a ways to go before legislation like this is passed, this is still great news. My past experience working with Centurion Ministries (also located in the lovely Garden State) has made issues like wrongful convictions and the death penalty very personal to me. I can’t wait to see this happen.

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