Levin, Upton back Parlak residency

Published 7:48 am Thursday, January 18, 2007

By Staff
WASHINGTON – Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., introduced bills in the Senate and House Wednesday that would give permanent U.S. residency to Ibrahim Parlak, a Kurdish immigrant living in southwest Michigan.
The Department of Homeland Security threatened to deport Parlak due to his failure to report on his application for permanent resident status that he had been arrested in another country.
However, Levin and Upton maintain that Parlak disclosed in great detail his past association with the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) and his resulting imprisonment in Turkey in the 1980s when he successfully sought asylum in the U.S. in 1991, and that he has been a model immigrant and business owner in Berrien County for many years.
"Mr. Parlak is a good citizen and should be allowed to remain in the United States and continue the honorable life that he has built for his community, his daughter and himself all these years," Levin said.
"Today, we renew our efforts on behalf of Ibrahim Parlak," said Upton. "Although this is a new Congress, we remain steadfast in our commitment to Mr. Parlak as his situation remains unresolved.
"The bill that I re-introduced today in the House, in tandem with Sen. Levin's measure, will grant Ibrahim Parlak and his family the peace of mind of permanent residency in the United States. He should be given the chance to remain in his community and raise his daughter without any fear of arrest or deportation."
Parlak, a Kurd born in southern Turkey, came to the United States seeking asylum in 1991.
In his asylum application, Parlak disclosed that he had been associated with the PKK in the 1980s, that he was involved in an armed skirmish at the Turkish border in 1988 and that he had been imprisoned in Turkey as a result.
In 1992, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) determined that Parlak had a credible fear of returning to Turkey and granted him asylum.
The Department of Homeland Security argues that Parlak committed fraud on his I-485 (Application to Adjust to Permanent Resident Status) because he failed to state that he had been arrested, indicted or convicted in any country.
However, in Parlak's application for asylum in 1991, he set forth in great detail his role in the PKK, his presence at a violent exchange with Turkish soldiers and his trials and imprisonment in Turkey.
This information was available to the immigration official who oversaw his application for Legal Permanent Residency in 1993.
"It is incongruous to conclude that he was intentionally hiding those facts from the Department of Justice in 1993, when he detailed them explicitly to the Department of Justice in 1991," Levin said.