Malachy McAllister apparently ran out of time.
The Rutherford man, who spent two decades fighting U.S. government efforts to deport him, turned himself in to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tuesday and left the country Wednesday, according to U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, who has helped champion his case to remain.
McAllister had received a last-minute reprieve from deportation two years ago, but the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under President Donald Trump administration refused to yield this time.
“Deporting a community leader who poses no national security or public safety threat is not only a clear injustice, but also contrary to our nation’s values,” said Menendez, D-N.J. “By forcefully deporting Mr. McAllister to a place he fled because his life was put in danger, the Trump administration is showing the immorality of their indiscriminate immigration policies.”
McAllister came to New Jersey in 1996 from Northern Ireland. A former member of the paramilitary Irish National Liberation Army, he served time in prison for the attempted murder of British police officers during the period of civil strife known as the “Troubles.”
He fled to the U.S. in search of asylum after he said British loyalists sprayed his family home with machine-gun fire.
But U.S. immigration officials designated him a terrorist and have been trying to deport him ever since.
Menendez and Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-9th Dist., have introduced legislation to allow McAllister to stay in the U.S., but the bills have gone nowhere. New Jersey lawmakers have proposed such legislation since 2004.
“For over 20 years, Malachy McAllister has been a valuable part of our North Jersey community,” Pascrell said.
“His roots are in New Jersey. America is where he belongs. His deportation at Trump’s hand is a heartless decision and separates a man with medical issues from his family for no good reason that puts him and his family at risk.”
Pascrell said McAllister was told not to travel while recovering from several injuries, including a broken collar bone, from being hit by a car while bicycling. In addition, he has asthma, putting him at higher risk of being infected with COVID-19.
ICE officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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