Tuesday 6 December 2016

If we want aid for undocumented Irish in US, help those 'living in the shadows' here - Howlin

Published 10/11/2016 | 13:41

Brendan Howlin Picture: Tom Burke
Brendan Howlin Picture: Tom Burke

Ireland must “practice what we preach” if we want US President Trump to help the 50,000 undocumented Irish migrants in the USA, the Dáil has been told.

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Labour leader Brendan Howlin said there are up to 26,000 undocumented migrants in Ireland – up to 6,000 of these are children “living in the shadows.”

Mr Howlin noted the priority given by the Taoiseach to lobbying for the case of Irish immigrants in the USA in his first response to Mr Trump’s election on Wednesday.

But he warned that President-elect Trump’s policy was diametrically opposed to the Irish Government’s aims and he believed immigrants could not get legal status by breaking the US law.

“He has promised to deport illegal immigrants in the first 100 days – and the clock is ticking,” Mr Howlin said.

Read more: What lies in store for the undocumented Irish in America under President Trump?

Mr Howlin said the Migrant Council of Ireland had estimated that there are between 20,000 and 26,000 undocumented immigrants in Ireland and between 2,000 and 6,000 of these are children.

“Is there not an absolute imperative for us to practice what we preach and address the situation of those within our own State who are undocumented?” the Labour leader asked the Dáil.

Replying for the Government, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, said the Government remains determined to help find a remedy for undocumented Irish immigrants in the US.  The Taoiseach had already spoken with President Trump and he was stressing the Irish undocumented people’s plight.

Ms Fitzgerald added that she was working with the Migrant Council of Ireland and hoped people could regularise their position.

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