A southwestern Michigan cafe owner who the U.S. government says hid his ties to a group labeled a terrorist organization has been granted a 90-day extension of a deferral that has kept him from being deported.
The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that the Department of Homeland Security gave Ibrahim Parlak the extension Wednesday. His two-year deportation deferral was to expire at midnight Thursday.
"Knowing that I may be stripped of everything I have and sent over there, basically to be killed, is not a way to live in America," says Parlak, who runs Café Gulistan in Berrien County's Harbert.
He immigrated in 1991 after being convicted in Turkey of supporting the Kurdish separatist movement. Parlak has said torture was used to gather evidence against him in that case.
For over a decade the U.S. has tried to deport Parlak. But he's been protected by a bill introduced each year by Senator Carl Levin - who has now retired.
Parlak's attorney, Robert Carpenter, is seeking to have the deportation deferred permanently and has filed a motion with the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals to have the case reopened.
Parlak says he fears being tortured and killed if he is forced to return to Turkey.