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Government appeals judge's ruling that protected Ibrahim Parlak from being deported


The U.S. Dept. of Justice is appealing an immigration judge's ruling that protected Ibrahim Parlak from deportation.

Parlak is a West Michigan restaurant owner who fled Turkey 27 years ago, after being in a Kurdish separatist group.

The federal government started deportation proceedings against him in 2004, alleging he failed to disclose his involvement in the group when he applied for U.S. citizenship.

The government also says the group Parlak belonged to was a terrorist organization.

Parlak's attorney, Robert Carpenter, says he thinks the government's appeal is a long shot.  He says the government must show that political conditions for Kurds in Turkey have changed for the better, he says, when in fact they have changed for the worse.  

And he says the government has to show that it's not likely that Parlak would be persecuted and tortured if deported.

Carpenter says the problem with that argument is Turkey says it wants Parlak back so it can imprison him, and he'd be thrown into "the very same prison system in which he was tortured back in the 80s."

The immigration judge said while there is a final deportation order for Parlak, he can't be deported because it's more likely than not he will be persecuted by the Turkish government and tortured in prison.

In the years since Parlak arrived in the U.S. he's become a much-loved fixture in Harbert, Michigan, near Lake Michigan, and the owner of a popular restaurant featuring cuisine from his homeland.

His bid to remain in the U.S. has been supported by former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin and current U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, who call him a "model immigrant."

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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