Michigan Kurd Faces Possible Christmas Eve Deportation

A Kurdish chef who has lived peacefully in Michigan for more than a decade says the U.S. government is again setting the stage to possibly deport him.

Ibrahim Parlak in essence faces a no-win situation with a Christmas Eve deadline.

A few years after the 9/11 attacks U.S. immigration officials ordered Ibrahim Parlak deported, saying he had lied on a government form.

Federal officials said Parlak had also been part of Kurdish group fighting the government in Turkey, a group the U.S. recognized as a terrorist organization many years after Parlak had moved to Michigan and started a business here.

Parlak was taken into custody. Thousands of the townspeople where he lives started a legal defense fund for him, saying Homeland Security had “gone too far.”

Several major media outlets called the case against Parlak unjust.

Eventually Michigan’s former senior U-S Senator Carl Levin began sponsoring a personal bill in Congress each year to keep Parlak in the U.S. and he was released from custody, though he is still on probation.

And Parlak was still required to look for another country that would accept him if he were deported, something neither he nor U.S. officials had been able to find.

At least until now, when Parlak’s supporters say a country has agreed to accept him if the U-S deports him.

That country is Turkey, where Parlak says he was imprisoned and tortured before he was released and moved to Michigan.

Parlak must either accept the arrangement with the Turkish government or refuse and violate his probation, with the penalty being deportation.

Parlak’s supporters say he’s told now that his probation will end on Christmas Eve, meaning he could face immediate deportation afterwards, at a time when Congress is on recess and the move would draw little public or media attention.

Michigan’s newest U.S. Senator, Gary Peters, has not said whether he will follow former senator Carl Levin’s example and write a personal bill to stop Parlak from being deported. 

Image credit: cafegulistan.com

About the Author

Quinn Klinefelter

Senior News Editor

I grab news in the morning, check the papers and the wires, call sources and take a big gulp of coffee. That’s how I start the day.

qklinefelter@wdet.org  

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