Ray O’Hanlon
Irish Echo
21 Mar 2012

Malachy McAllister and his family have been granted another year’s relief from deportation, this after the intervention of New Jersey senator Bob Menendez.

Menendez (D-NJ) announced that United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement had granted temporary relief from deportation to New Jersey resident and Belfast native McAllister and his family for one year.

Said a statement from the senator’s office: “After a phone call by Senator Robert Menendez to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), ICE finally agreed to allow the McAllister family to remain in the U.S. Today’s action by ICE will allow Malachy to stay in the United States for at least an additional year.

Menendez said in a statement: “Malachy and his family are integral members of the New Jersey community. Knowing that this is a life and death situation for Malachy, I personally called the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John Morton, and pleaded Malachy’s case.

“I am pleased to say that today I learned that Malachy has been granted deferred action, allowing him and his family to stay in the United States. The St. Patrick’s Day wish of many in the Irish community was granted.”

And the granting resulted in a much relieved McAllister being able to take part in Saturday’s New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“This is indeed a huge relief for me and my family and I want to thank Senator Menendez for his timely intervention and help,” said McAllister.

Congressman Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, also wrote ICE on McAllister’s behalf.

McAllister and his family fled Belfast in 1988 after loyalist gunmen fired into the family home. They first sought refuge in Canada before coming to the U.S. in the mid-1990s and settling in New Jersey. The family experienced tragedy in 2004 when Malachy’s wife, Bernadette, died of cancer.