Month: April 2016

Old School Rapper Slick Rick Beats Deportation, Becomes U.S. Citizen

British rapper Slick Rick became a  U.S. citizen last week after a decades long battle with the immigration service over his possible deportation.

Slick Rick, whose real name is Ricky Walters, became famous for his work with fellow old-school rapper Doug E. Fresh and for his multi-colored eye patches.

INS and then USCIS tried to kick Slick Rick out of the country several times after he pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder in 1991 and spent five years in prison.

“I am so proud of this moment — and so honored to finally become an American citizen,” Rick said Friday in a statement.

In the 1990 incident, Slick Rick fired a gun several times, although he claimed it was self defense. He claimed that a cousin who ended up injured in the gun battle had threatened Slick Rick and his mom on a prior occasion.

With the violent felony conviction, he faced deportation back to Great Briatin. He fought the deportation for many years.

On one occasions, Walters was arrested in Florida while trying to return from a Caribbean concert cruise with singer Erykah Badu.

It was less than a year after 9/11, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service was operating in an era of heightened security.

Def Jam founder Russell Simmons , along with Actors Will Smith and Chris Rock, tried to help and encouraged fans to push for his eventual release.

“This has been a long time coming for me, and I am relieved to finally put this long chapter behind me,” Walters said after he was sworn-in Friday in an official ceremony alongside dozens of other new citizens in New York.

“I want to thank everyone — my family, friends and fans — who have supported me and stuck by me over these 23 years. I am truly blessed, and stay tuned, I will have more to announce soon.”

He later posted a picture to Instagram of an American flag-themed eye patch with the caption, “#SlickRickVictory.”

Slick_Rick

Congressman proposes private bill to keep Irishman from being deported

Malachy

Congressman Joe Crowley of New York will introduce a private bill in support of Malachy McAllister, an Irishman who is subject to deportation from the U.S. on April 25.

At the same time, the Ancient Order of Hibernians is mobilizing members around the U.S., asking them to contact their Congressional representatives to ask for relief for McAllister.  The Irish native has lived for 20 years in the U.S. after fleeing Northern Ireland with his family after their home was shot at by Loyalist paramilitaries in 1988.

“Time is of the essence. We all need to act now,” Crowley told the Irish Voice on Tuesday.

“Malachy meets all the requirements to avoid deportation. He is absolutely no threat to the United States. He is one of the former hard men who took risks for peace in Northern Ireland, and his case needs to be seen in that context. We do not want to give reason for the dissidents to say their campaign should continue, and deporting Malachy would do that.”

McAllister is a former member of the Irish National Liberation Army.  He spent three years in prison in Belfast in the 1980s.  McAllister and his family fled Northern Ireland in 1988 after their home was attacked with gunfire. They first went to Canada and then to the U.S., where they have been fighting for asylum ever since.

Recently declassified British intelligence documents indicate collusion between the British security forces and Loyalist paramilitaries in the attack on the McAllister home, making him even more worried about deportation.

“I’m just worn down,” McAllister told the Irish Voice on Tuesday morning. “So many years we’ve had to go through this. All I want is closure. Questions have to be asked as to why this is happening now.”

His case for political asylum has been on appeal at the Board of Immigration Appeals.  McAllister has received deferred action from ICE in 12 month increments every year since 2006.  In March of 2015, Immigration & Customs Enforcement reversed their prior course of action and ordered McAllister to report for deportation.  McAllister’s prior arrest in Belfast has been flagged by ICE, though the complete context of the political unrest in Northern Ireland at the time is being ignored, his supporters say.

McAllister, a resident of Rutherford, NJ owns a successful stone mason business which has employed several U.S. citizens.  He also owns an Irish bar and restaurant in Manhattan called Wolfe Tone’s Irish Pub and Kitchen. He has had no arrests since his arrival in the U.S., and he has long disavowed paramilitary activity in the North, staunchly advocating for the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.

“Everybody here knows who I am and what I stand for, all the Irish groups and organizations. I am very grateful for their support,” says McAllister, who is father to a 4-year-old U.S.-born son and grandfather to five U.S. citizen grandchildren.

The special bill that Crowley is proposing is a legislative mechanism whereby Congress can literally pass a piece of legislation designed to solve one person’s immigration issue.  It is a rare form of immigration relief.

ICE deports former Serbian police sergeant after lies discovered

Janko Branko Jankovic, who had been residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has been deported from the United States after it was discovered that he lied to gain entry to the U.S. in 2003 and that he had served in the Serbian army during the Bosnian war.  Jankovic arrived in Sarajevo last Wednesday while being escorted by officials form Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).

An ICE investigation revealed that Jankovic failed to disclose his extensive service in a Serbian para-military group during the war.  A federal immigration judge ordered Jankovic deported in June of 2014 and his appeals finally ran out.

Serb military man

The immigration judge had found a pattern of deceit by Jankovic.  The court found that Jankovic’s wife would not face extreme hardship if he were deported and that, even if she would, his repeated lying to immigration officials – both in order to enter the country and at various times thereafter – rendered him ineligible for discretionary relief like a waiver of his deportation.