Donald Trump's sister attacked US government over plans to deport Belfast republican
A SISTER of US President-elect Donald Trump once attacked the US government over its plans to deport a Belfast republican.
Judge Maryanne Trump Barry argued against the deportation of former republican paramilitary Malachy McAllister.
He had been due to be expelled from the US this year, but in April was told he could remain for at least 21 more months.
McAllister fled the north with his family in 1988 after his home was attacked by loyalists.
He and his children face deportation due to his past involvement in the INLA.
Dozens of Congress members, both Democrats and Republicans, have argued that deporting McAllister would run counter to the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was among those who supported his efforts to remain in the US.
It has now emerged that Judge Trump Barry argued that he should be excused due to the "800 years of history that led Malachy to fight with his people to remove British rule and the persecution inflicted by that rule on Northern Ireland and on Malachy and his family".
The retired New Jersey judge wrote a strongly worded judgment which criticised the Bush Administration for "tying her hands" in a 2006 case that involved McAllister.
She wrote that his involvement in the INLA led him to injure an RUC officer in 1981, adding that he had fled after the loyalist attack on his home.
This, she added, meant the family was of no threat to the US and should be allowed to stay.
"Congress's definition of terrorist activity sweeps in not only the big guy, but also the little guy who poses no risk to anyone. It sweeps in Malachy McAllister (and) Malachy's children, Seán and Nicola, are swept in, too," she wrote.
"I cannot find a way to keep the McAllisters in this country, and I have surely tried. We cannot be the country we should be if, because of the tragic events of Sept 11, we knee-jerk remove decent men and women merely because they may have erred at one point in their lives."
She added that were the McAllister family deported, it would mean the words carved on the Statue of Liberty would no longer mean anything.
"I refuse to believe that 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free' is now an empty entreaty, but if it is, shame on us," she said.