- Associated Press - Thursday, December 24, 2015

HARBERT, Mich. (AP) - A southwestern Michigan cafe owner who the U.S. government says hid his ties to a terrorist organization has been granted a 90-day extension of a deferral that has kept him from being deported.

The Department of Homeland Security gave Ibrahim Parlak the extension Wednesday, The Kalamazoo Gazette reported (https://bit.ly/1QYB2vH ) Thursday.

Parlak’s attorney, Robert Carpenter, wants the deportation deferred permanently and filed a motion this week with the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals to have the case reopened.

“It’s definitely welcome news because it allows the system to operate the way it’s supposed to operate with a full opportunity for both sides to address the issue,” Carpenter said of the 90-day extension. “It’s certainly not the ultimate news that we hope to hear.”

Parlak runs Café Gulistan in Berrien County’s Harbert, a quiet Lake Michigan resort town about 15 miles south-southwest of St. Joseph. His latest 2-year deportation deferral was to expire at midnight Thursday.

Parlak immigrated in 1991 after being convicted in Turkey of supporting the Kurdish separatist movement. He has said torture was used to gather evidence against him in that case.

His lawyers have said that’s how officials obtained a confession regarding Parlak’s presence at a fire fight in which two Turkish soldiers were killed.

A Kurdish rights group that Parlak supported in the 1980s - PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party - was designated a terrorist organization in 1999 by the United States. Parlak was detained by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in 2004 for alleged immigration fraud.

Prosecutors said then that Parlak failed to disclose his link to the group in his original application for political asylum in the U.S. and didn’t mention the Turkish conviction when he applied for a green card in 1993 and to become a citizen in 1999.

Parlak first was granted a deferral from deportation in 2010. He worries of being harmed if forced to return to Turkey.

Efforts to remain in the U.S. are about Parlak “trying to save his life,” Carpenter said.

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Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette, https://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo


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