Ibrahim Parlak continues to wait for citizenship decision

As we reported Friday, Congressman Fred Upton re-introduced a bill that would grant Kurdish immigrant Ibrahim Parlak U.S. citizenship.

Parlak came to the U.S. in 1991 seeking asylum after proving credible fear for his life if he were to return to Turkey.

Ever since the September 11th terrorist attacks, Parlak has been fighting to stay in the U.S.

Last summer, The Department of Homeland Security granted him a visa extension for an additional two years.

Even with such temporary relief, the long term future is still unknown.

“It's not a good feeling to get up every day just like okay what's going to happen,” says Parlak.

For him, the frustration is constant and his road to becoming a U.S. citizen continues to linger. Even with widespread support he continues to carry the burden on his shoulders.

“I believed in freedom and humans rights, equalities, but I didn't know what it is. America give me that opportunity,” says Parlak.

Parlak has been in the U.S. for 22 years, 20 of those as a restaurant owner. According, to supporters he's a model citizen and he says deportation to turkey isn't an option.

“There are some experiences in your life that you don't want to remember and once when you have that's it. You don't want to taste it a second time.” Parlak continues.

Congressman Fred Upton and Senator Carl Levin are also pushing for his freedom.

"Mr. Parlak has been a well-respected local businessman; a valued and much-beloved member of his Southwest Michigan community.
It's time to put this drawn-out matter to rest and allow Mr. Parlak to live in peace," Says Upton.

Still many have concerns because of Parlak's ties to the PKK, a group the U.S. Government considers a terrorist organization.

"The more heightened sensitivity to terrorist concerns and terrorist connections, it can have a detriment when we find some of our American citizens based on factors that really have nothing to do with their affiliation with terrorist, they just fit maybe a specific profile,” says NIU Assistant Professor of Political Science, Robert Brathwaite.

Parlak and his supporters say that after all the government investigations nothing questionable has been identified.

They want to know why the U.S seems to be targeting him, but more than that they want to be done with the headache.

Brathwaite says that maybe releasing documents could be a security threat and could shed light on the U.S.’s system of information gathering.


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