Victory For Ibrahim Parlak

A judge has ruled in favor of a Berrien County restaurant owner fighting deportation from the United States. The office of Congressman Fred Upton issued a statement Tuesday night, saying Ibrahim Parlak’s application for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture has been granted. Parlak, a Kurdish immigrant who owns Cafe Gulistan in Harbert, has been facing possible deportation for years. Congressman Upton has long been a Parlak supporter, repeatedly introducing legislation to stall Parlak’s deportation. Upton’s office tells us an immigration judge ruled Tuesday Parlak will not be deported. Upton writes, “Justice has prevailed,” adding, “supporters can begin to rest easy as we’re hopefully turning the page on this chapter for good and finally done wasting taxpayer dollars.” He offers to help Parlak in any way he can moving forward, and calls Parlak a “fantastic father, local business owner, and friend to many families here in Southwest Michigan.” Parlak was granted political asylum in the U.S. from his native Turkey in the 1990s, but things changed when the U.S. State Department declared a group he was affiliated with in Turkey, the PKK, to be a terrorist organization. He’s been fighting to stay in the U.S. ever since. He feared he would be tortured or worse if sent back to Turkey.

Below is Upton’s full statement:

“Justice has prevailed,” said Upton. “This has been a full team effort for more than a decade. We’ve always supported Ibrahim because we know who he truly is: A fantastic father, local business owner, and friend to many families here in Southwest Michigan. Truly, a model immigrant. Ibrahim, his family, friends, and supporters can begin to rest easy as we’re hopefully turning the page on this chapter for good and finally done wasting taxpayer dollars. We stand ready to assist in anyway needed moving forward.”

Also Tuesday, Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois issued the following statement:

“Ibrahim Parlak is a beloved member of the southwest Michigan community,” said Schakowsky. “For decades, this good man has welcomed guests to his popular restaurant, hired many local people, raised a wonderful daughter, and been surrounded by loving friends. For the same period, Mr. Parlak has been living under the threat of deportation to a country in which he was once the victim of torture and where he would have been killed if forced to return. Today, a Judge ruled that Ibrahim Parlak will not be deported. All the people who have worked for years to support him are celebrating this decision and Ibrahim is rejoining in the America that has been his home for so long. I join with my colleague Fred Upton in continuing to offer a hand of friendship to Ibrahim and his family.”