This is a story of the American Dream turned into a nightmare.Timeline
Ibrahim Parlak, a Kurd who immigrated to the U.S. from Turkey, is the Southwest Michigan
restaurateur who was incarcerated as an alien detainee in the Calhoun County Jail
for 10 months. He has committed no crime in America, and was only charged with the
crime of "separatism" in Turkey for standing up for the rights of Kurdish
people to live in freedom and dignity. For this so-called crime he was tortured for a
month in a Turkish jail and imprisoned for 18 months.
See below for a timeline of Ibrahim's experiences since the late 1980's leading up to today.
After the tragic occurences of September 11, 2001 Ibrahim, who had applied for U.S.
citizenship in 1999, had his application denied. This was in November, 2001. In 2004,
during a routine visit to the F.B.I. offices in St. Joseph, MI (where government officials had
previously attempted to convince him to return to the Mideast as a U.S. agent), Ibrahim was arrested
by the Department of Homeland Security and jailed in Calhoun County jail, Battle Creek, MI. An
immigration judge ruled him deportable to Turkey, where his life
would be in jeopardy.
Ibrahim was granted political asylum in 1992 by the United
States Department of Justice, based on a well-founded fear of persecution. In 2004
the government rescinded that protection.
Upon his arrest, Ibrahim's family and friends, understandably outraged, banded together to find ways
to get him released from jail and to prepare a legal defense strategy.
The Honorable Judge Avern Cohn granted our
petition for Habeas Corpus May 20th, 2005 and on June 3rd, 2005 Ibrahim was finally
released from jail. Since then he has been fighting deportation through the court system.
This journey through the courts has ended recently with the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to hear his appeal of the
split decision handed down by the Sixth Circuit Court.
In May, 2010, Secretary Napolitano of DHS, responding to the urging of Sen. Levin and Rep. Upton to drop the case against Ibrahim,
notified Ibrahim's attorneys that DHS will not seek to deport Ibrahim for two years.
Although this may sound like good news, it changes nothing, as the private bills before Congress sponsored by Sen. Levin
and Rep. Upton achieve essentially the same result: he cannot be deported while those bills are pending. Ibrahim is still
required to report to DHS on a regular basis. He must tell them if he is leaving Michigan and tell them when he returns. If
he so much as gets two traffic violations he can be arrested and imprisoned. There is no documentation, other than the email
from DHS, of this 'promise' to not deport him for two years and the 'conditions' he must comply with have not been clearly defined
nor documented. In short, nothing has changed for him.
For six long years Ibrahim has been dealing with this situation. He is tired, disillusioned, and wonders what happened to
the American Dream he was living. He is at the point where he wants this to end - one way or another. Either let him live as an American
or give him a passport so he can emigrate and find a country where he can live the life he thought he had here.
For those of us who have stood with him throughout this ordeal it would be a shame if our country would let him go elsewhere, and we
would miss him dearly. At the same time we fully empathize with his frustration.
Live up to your promise America! Ibrahim Parlak has been the ideal immigrant. He has brought life and energy and jobs to us. He has
broken no laws in almost 20 years living here. He has contributed hugely to make this part of America a better place. He has helped those
less fortunate than him. It would be a shame to lose him.
(Move cursor over a date for a brief description of events)
In our website you may read legal briefs filed by the government and by
Ibrahim's lawyers, articles on the human rights situation of Kurds in
Turkey, letters written to our representatives, affidavits written by
members of Ibrahim's community, and articles and editorials written by
journalists about his situation. You will be introduced to books and films
about the Kurds and Kurdistan, which will present a story of the people
Ibrahim wished to represent in his work as a Kurdish activist. You may
contact his friends with questions, offers or concerns.
We welcome you to this site, and hope one day you will be able to meet
Ibrahim in the kitchen of his restaurant, where he would greet you warmly
as a guest.