Lawyer appeals for ICE to overturn deportation of Irishman Keith Byrne

Lawyer appeals for ICE to overturn deportation of Irishman Keith Byrne

THE FAMILY of Irishman Keith Byrne are exploring all avenues to keep him from being deported.

Mr Byrne has now been detained by the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for over a week, and while many seem to be losing hope, his family are determined to keep him in the country to be with his wife, two biological children and one stepson, who are all US citizens.

Now, international lawyer Michael Kingston has urged the United States to reconsider deporting the father-of-three, citing his family's historic contributions to the country.

In a letter to ICE seen by RTE, Mr Kingston pointed out that the man’s family have contributed significantly to American charities.

Mr Byrne’s great aunt Nellie, who married a Texan oil tycoon, donated over 12 million dollars to San Antonio’s Children's Hospital and has a charity based in the city, known as the Nellie B West charity.

The Cork-born lawyer admitted that Mr Byrne was “clearly wrong” to overstay his visa, but urgently appealed to the “moral decency of the United States”, reminding US Senators that “Keith’s family is going to be split up, traumatising these US children and his stepson’s father and family”.

“He loves his stepson and would not take him away from his father, even if he was allowed to legally, nor would his mother, a US citizen who is now in an impossible situation if Keith is deported to Ireland.”

Mr Kingston ended his heartfelt appeal by again drawing attention to the good that Mr Byrne’s ancestors have contributed to the country, saying:

"To grant Keith Byrne a reprieve allowing Green Card status, in his special circumstances, would enhance the moral power of this great nation and I have no doubt it will be repaid 100-fold in the same manner of Keith's great aunt, Nellie Byrne who contributed so magnificently in hard work, spirit, and financially, to the United States,".

Meanwhile, another Irish man who was deported from the US six years ago has told The Irish Times that Mr Byrne should "take it on the chin" and "get on with it".

Cormac McGrady was deported from Pennsylvania under eerily similar circumstances. Married to a US citizen and in the process of getting a green card, the Co Down native was arrested for a public nudity offence after being caught skinny dipping with his wife. He was subsequently brought back to Ireland in handcuffs.

Citing the "ruthless" immigration system, Mr McGrady does not hold the same hope for mercy as Mr Byrne's family does.

Mr Byrne is believed to have signed a document agreeing to leave the United States, but there could be more twists to this story yet.