Ciaran Ferry Legal Defense Fund

Asylum Application Denied By Judge Vandello

On November 4, 2003 Judge Vandello denied Ciaran Ferry political and religious asylum in the United States. Vandello's decision, ignoring the Good Friday Accords and ongoing peace process in Ireland, refused to recognize Ciaran's previous charges in the north of Ireland as politically motivated - which would entitle him to political and/or religious asylum under the political offense exception in immigration law.

An excerpt of Vandello's ruling follows:

"The Board of Immigration Appeals issued a precedent decision concerning a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army. See Matter of McMullen, 19 I&N Dec. 90 (BIA 1984). The Board stated that the respondent, "by his active and effective membership" had participated in the persecution of others and was therefore barred from receiving asylum. The Board also categorized that respondent's crimes as "serious non-political crimes" and refused to apply the political offense exception. I find that the respondent's offense constitutes a serious non-political crime. I further find that having been convicted of this offense, he has participate in the persecution of others."

"I find that the respondent is a late filer and is barred from asylum for that reason. He has not shown changed circumstances nor extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay. He has a valid excuse for not filing (i.e., because he had a pending application for adjustment of status), but this excuse is not one that is recognized by the law."

"I further find that if the respondent were not barred from receiving relief, he has the ability to relocate to another part of the British Isles in order to avoid any problems he might face in Northern Ireland. He is a citizen of the Republic of Ireland and a citizen of Great Britain. Even thought it may be inconveniuent to start a new life in another part of Britain, it is, nonetheless, a viable option."

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