“The subject was arrested and is pending deportation proceedings back to his country of origin.”

Newshound had spotted the report in the South Texas Monitor and the BBC have followed up. If the details in both reports are true it would appear that the Maze escaper caught with out-of-date immigration documents at a US border checkpoint in Texas could only be one of a handful of people from the list of those still on-the-run. From the Monitor report

The man, whose name Border Patrol refused to release late Wednesday night, is expected to soon be transferred to British custody. Reportedly a member of the Irish Republican Army, the man is accused of making a violent escape from the Maze prison in Northern Ireland in September 1983 along with 38 other IRA members.

He was arrested at the Sarita checkpoint outside of Brownsville on Monday after he was unable to provide valid immigration documents. Agents did a background check through an international fingerprint system, which identified the man as having escaped from the prison.

Adds The RTÉ report notes

Sinn Féin said it is aware of the incident but is not yet in a position to comment.

Update The BBC report now names the man awaiting deportation as Paul Brennan and notes

A Sinn Fein spokesman said: “Pol (Paul Brennan) is not undocumented, after his extradition case was dropped in October 2000, he was granted the right to remain in the US where he has been living and working ever since. Pol and his family remain hopeful that this anomaly will be successfully resolved in the near future.”

And from the [earlier] BBC report

The US Border Patrol have refused to identify him, but said he was awaiting deportation.

It said he had been serving a 23-year prison sentence in Northern Ireland on charges of possessing a bomb and a firearm.

The man produced an out-of-date immigration document at the Sarita checkpoint near Brownsville.

The man was identified through fingerprinting after a search of his background through the Joint Terrorism Task Force and Interpol.

“The subject was arrested and is pending deportation proceedings back to his country of origin,” said the US Border Patrol.

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  • DC

    Well if it’s Liam Averill he’s arriving back in time for transgender equality rights.

    Perhaps he might change his name to Avril Liam. A true Republican victim of being obliged to murder Prods due to then political circumstances.

  • joeCanuck

    That remark would clearly seem to be offside.

  • joeCanuck

    Sorry, DC. Now know the context via one of Pete’s links.

  • Pete Baker

    He has now been named as Paul Brennan.

  • Elvis Parker

    Maybe he more or less handed himself in? If he is deported he will be flown home from a country where he is an ‘illegal’ back to NI where under the Agreement he can walk free and then get a job with Sinn Fein up at Stormont or on a prisoner rights or community development programme. Sure it would beat working as an illegal in the US wouldnt it?
    Bit of an none story.
    If he is a ‘dissident’ he will have to keep stum or Gerry will ask the NIO to lock him up!

  • Pete Baker

    If you think this is a “none story”, Elvis, you’re not paying attention to the detail.

  • Irish Republican In America

    We’ll let the Justice system sort this out. Best of luck to ya Paul.

  • Ian

    Had Brennan served two years before he escaped? If so he’ll be released anyway (unless he’s faced with fresh charges for jailbreaking).

  • [aside]Local border patrols: Operation Gull

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I think it is a bit of a non-story; the only story here is how paranoid the US is at its border these days. Brennan’s case was dealt with in the US years ago, but he still appears to ‘red flag’ at border control. The British aren’t even seeking him any more, AFAIK.

  • Someone Who Knows Him

    He was helping his wife move to Texas so she could care for her elderly mother. They drove to South Texas from the Bay Area, where they originally met and had resided since the mid 1980’s. He was making a return to CA where he was planning to continue to reside when he was stopped at a check point. They had passed through without problems in the past. He was arrested in the Bay Area in January 1993, almost 10 years after his escape from the Belfast prison. His identity had been discovered by the FBI. He then spent close to a decade in California prisons fighting extradition to N. Ireland until he was released on bail and eventually the British ended their pursuit of his custody as part of the Good Friday Agreement. While all of his documents might not have been current, he has lived a politically peaceful life in the Bay Area. He poses no threat to the country. [See Commenting Policy – edited moderator] Arrested for a crime? Yes. For the correct reason? No. Justice for his victims? Once again, no.

    He may have fought for a good cause in Northern Ireland (you decide on your own) but honestly, on a personal level, the man is not kind. He should have been arrested for other reasons unrelated to terrorism, illegal documents, or immigrant status. Just because someone fights a good or worthy cause doesn’t mean they are a good person. They can be just as much of an abusive ass as anyone. Take it from me.

    Confusing, no?