A quiet Kurdish chef who’s lived and worked in Michigan for more than two decades has been granted a temporary reprieve from being deported.
In 2004 federal officials said Michigan resident Ibrahim Parlak had lied on a government form and had been part of a terrorist organization fighting against Turkey, though the group was not identified as such until almost half-a-dozen years after Parlak was in the U.S.
He was jailed for about 10 months. The townspeople where he lived protested and raised money for his legal defense.
Michigan Congressman Fred Upton and former Senator Carl Levin began introducing bills to keep Parlak in the U.S. But Levin retired a year ago and federal officials say Turkey had finally agreed to accept Parlak if he were deported.
Parlak says he had been tortured while imprisoned in Turkey in the past and likely would face more of the same, or even death, if he were sent there.
Now federal officials have granted Parlak a 90-day extension and congressional officials say privately they are searching for ways to keep the Kurdish chef in the U.S. permanently.