FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bernadette Devlin Denied Entry into the US

by LAURA FLANDERS

Irish activist and former Member of Parliament, Bernadette Devlin McAliskey was detained by immigration officials in Chicago, February 21, and denied entry into the United States allegedly on “national security” grounds.

According to her daughter, Deidre, two INS officers threatened to arrest, jail, and even shoot the legendary civil rights campaigner when she arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. McAliskey (56) was then photographed, finger-printed and returned to Ireland against her will on the grounds that the State Department had declared that she “poses a serious threat to the security of the United States.”

“Mommy was this close to being locked up,” said Deidre, Saturday in New York. The two were traveling together from Ireland to the US to attend a christening,

According to daughter Deirdre (27) the McAliskeys cleared US immigration in Ireland prior to boarding, and received routine permission to travel, but upon their arrival they were stopped at baggage claim. Detained by two INS officers, they were told that the order to bar Bernadette McAliskey came from US officials in Dublin.

During the dispute that followed, Deirdre says one INS officer used “very thinly veiled threats” against her mother, including, “if you interrupt me one more time I’m going to slam the cuffs on you and haul your ass to jail.”

One officer, says Deirdre, “pulled his chair right up to mommy and I heard him say ‘Don’t make my boss angry. I saw him fire a shot at a guy last week and he has the authority to shoot.'”

Denied access to a lawyer, Bernadette was sent back to Ireland. “She’s not in the best of health and the 13 hours of travel put her at further risk,” Deirdre says.

A tireless advocate for the Irish nationalist cause, at the age of 21, McAliskey was the youngest person ever to be elected to the British parliament. A witness to the deaths of 13 civilians shot dead by British paratroopers during a civil rights march in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1972, McAliskey narrowly avoided death a second time when she and her husband were shot in their home by a loyalist death-squad in 1981. Deirdre, who was present, was five years old at the time.

Famously articulate, McAliskey has been frequent visitor to the US for the past thirty years, although this was her first visit in over eighteen months. She has been awarded the symbolic “keys” to several US cities, including New York and San Francisco. On her first trip, in 1971, the young McAliskey made civil rights history when she refused to be met by Chicago’s Mayor Richard J. Daly on account of his treatment of opponents of the Vietnam War.

On Monday, Deirdre intends to consult with a lawyer in New York. She has several questions, among them: Is there or is there not a State Department Review in her mothers’s file? If there was nothing there on Friday morning, when she was cleared for travel by US authorities in Dublin, why did INS authorities in Chicago exclude her later that same afternoon?

Does the US government consider Bernadette Devlin McAliskey a security risk? “I can’t imagine what threat they could think she poses to US security,” says Deirdre, “Unless the threat is knowing too much and saying it too well.”

When the McAliskeys were detained in O’Hare airport, Deirdre says that the INS were also questioning four young men “with Arabic sounding names.” She believes that the four were later taken to jail. The McAliskeys, who have a long history fighting government repression on both sides of the Atlantic, are concerned about the denial of all visitors’ rights. Perhaps, says Deirdre, they are a position to raise a ruckus that other people can’t.

“However INS is required to deal with things, and whatever their protocol may be, it is not part of their legal procedures that you should be threatened with jail and threatened with being shot,” says Deirdre. At this point, she is urging visitors to the US to think twice, “if the state this jumpy, I’d not advise anyone to come here unless absolutely necessary,” she says.

Bernadette McAliskey is now in the process of filing a formal complaint with the US consulate in Dublin.

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
April 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit
Andrew Levine
Why I Fear and Loathe Trump Even More Now Than On Election Day
Jeffrey St. Clair
Mountain of Tears: the Vanishing Glaciers of the Pacific Northwest
Philippe Marlière
The Neoliberal or the Fascist? What Should French Progressives Do?
Conn Hallinan
America’s New Nuclear Missile Endangers the World
Peter Linebaugh
Omnia Sunt Communia: May Day 2017
Vijay Prashad
Reckless in the White House
Brian Cloughley
Who Benefits From Prolonged Warfare?
Kathy Kelly
The Shame of Killing Innocent People
Ron Jacobs
Hate Speech as Free Speech: How Does That Work, Exactly?
Andre Vltchek
Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About “Ecology of War”
Matt Rubenstein
Which Witch Hunt? Liberal Disanalogies
Sami Awad - Yoav Litvin - Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Never Give Up: Nonviolent Civilian Resistance, Healing and Active Hope in the Holyland
Pete Dolack
Tribunal Finds Monsanto an Abuser of Human Rights and Environment
Christopher Ketcham
The Coyote Hunt
Mike Whitney
Putin’s New World Order
Ramzy Baroud
Palestinian, Jewish Voices Must Jointly Challenge Israel’s Past
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 100 Days of Rage and Rapacity
Harvey Wasserman
Marine Le Pen Is a Fascist—Not a ‘Right-Wing Populist,’ Which Is a Contradiction in Terms
William Hawes
World War Whatever
John Stanton
War With North Korea: No Joke
Jim Goodman
NAFTA Needs to be Replaced, Not Renegotiated
Murray Dobbin
What is the Antidote to Trumpism?
Louis Proyect
Left Power in an Age of Capitalist Decay
Medea Benjamin
Women Beware: Saudi Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women’s Equality
Rev. William Alberts
Selling Spiritual Care
Peter Lee
Invasion of the Pretty People, Kamala Harris Edition
Cal Winslow
A Special Obscenity: “Guernica” Today
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda
Guillermo R. Gil
The Senator Visits Río Piedras
Jeff Mackler
Mumia Abu-Jamal Fights for a New Trial and Freedom 
Cesar Chelala
The Responsibility of Rich Countries in Yemen’s Crisis
Leslie Watson Malachi
Women’s Health is on the Chopping Block, Again
Basav Sen
The Coal Industry is a Job Killer
Judith Bello
Rojava, a Popular Imperial Project
Robert Koehler
A Public Plan for Peace
Sam Pizzigati
The Insider Who Blew the Whistle on Corporate Greed
Nyla Ali Khan
There Has to be a Way Out of the Labyrinth
Michael J. Sainato
Trump Scales Back Antiquities Act, Which Helped to Create National Parks
Stu Harrison
Under Duterte, Filipino Youth Struggle for Real Change
Martin Billheimer
Balm for Goat’s Milk
Stephen Martin
Spooky Cookies and Algorithmic Steps Dystopian
Michael Doliner
Thank You Note
Charles R. Larson
Review: Gregor Hens’ “Nicotine”
David Yearsley
Handel’s Executioner
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail