HARBERT, Mich. (WNDU) – WNDU has been following this story for decades.
Now Berrien County restaurant owner Ibrahim Parlak is facing a new eviction battle.
This comes after a judge in 2018 allowed Parlak to remain in the United States after fleeing Turkey in the 1990s.
On Monday, there was a press conference at Cafe Gulistan, Parlak’s restaurant, in Harbert.
Parlak’s attorney says the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is appealing Parlak’s “2018 win” not because of anything that happened in the courtroom, but simply because of the audio recording of Parlak’s past court testimony.
On October 31, the BIA issued a decision remanding the case to an immigration judge. That’s because of a Justice Department record of Parlak’s past court testimony that found more than 400 times when a professional transcriber who wasn’t in the courtroom didn’t understand Parlak’s answers to the judge’s questions.
“The immigration judge never asked about her understanding of the testimony,” explained Robert Carpenter, Parlak’s attorney. “I had no problem understanding Ibrahim for those four hours, nor did the government lawyer, so it’s not a question of what happened in the courtroom. It is a question of what the transcriber says happened in the courtroom based on his review of the audio recording.”
“Yes, I understand, I have Kurdish-English,” said Parlak. “My whole adult life has been here. I mean friends, family and business. Everything I have is here.”
As early as 2020, Parlak told WNDU that the Department of Homeland Security records on him stated that he had no ties to a Kurdish organization since he moved to the United States in 1991, nor did he have any activities of interest to the Turkish government by rationalizing these reasons, it was supposed to prevent Parlak from being tortured in Turkey, where he no longer has citizenship because the state has taken it away from him.
But Parlak says he is almost certain he would have been killed at a Turkish airport.
“Then they can blame it, ‘Oh, some extremist did it or whoever did it,’ or whatever. That they can clean themselves,” said Parlak.
“It’s not just Ibrahim saying he’s going to be tortured by the Turkish government, an immigration judge found exactly that in 2018,” Carpenter said. “It found that the Turkish government had tortured him in the past and would torture him again, and therefore CAT relief was granted. And so, you know, it’s not paranoia. For Ibrahim, this is unfortunately the reality.”
Next week, Parlak’s team will file an appeal with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. They will also file a motion to reopen the BIA.
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