Cureton criticizes Berrien deportation

Published 1:41 pm Saturday, January 22, 2005

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS - Cass County Commissioner John Cureton of Dowagiac has been reciting the Pledge of Allegiance since he was a little boy.
Cureton at Thursday afternoon's commission meeting blasted an order by an immigration judge that Berrien County restaurateur Ibrahim Parlak, 42, be deported to his native Turkey.
Judge Elizabeth Hacker Dec. 29, 2004, ruled against the Kurdish immigrant from Harbert based on his political activities in Turkey more than 15 years ago. Parlak had been held at the Calhoun County Correctional Facility in Battle Creek without bond since being taken into federal custodyJuly 29.
Earlier this month the owner of Cafe Gulistan assured supporters he remains the "same guy" they know. The only thing that has changed, he said, is the federal government's "witch-hunting" policies.
Parlak also accused government prosecutors and the Department of Homeland Security of "hijacking" the Constitution.
Reading from a letter he wrote, Cureton said, "The persecution of this man is a disgrace to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Bush administration and a government-toadying judge and, sadly enough, a disgrace to our nation."
Cureton said he hoped an appeals court "would show a little more intelligence."
Quoting Gov. Jennifer Granholm's remarks at Lake Michigan College near Benton Harbor Monday for Dr. Martin Luther King Day, Cureton said, "We must be extremists for justice and for love."
Cureton, who succeeded eight-year representative Jim Sayer this month, covered the Board of Commissioners as a reporter for more than 30 years. He said he has appreciated the invocations which begin meetings along with the flag pledge.
"They're brief and they always appear to be spontaneous and sincere."