Thursday 20 July 2017

'Unknown' how long Irish man will be detained before deportation from Boston

Well-known Donegal man 'arrested, waiting deportation' after 16 years in Boston

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

Daniel O'Connor

A well-known Irish man living illegally in Boston has been arrested and is understood to be currently awaiting deportation.

John Cunningham (38) emigrated from Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal to Boston, Massachusetts in February 2000 and had previously appeared in a RTÉ Prime Time documentary focused on undocumented Irishmen and women living in the United States.

He is now awaiting deportation amidst a crackdown on immigration enforcement under the new Trump administration.

A source from a Boston GAA club told Independent.ie, Mr. Cunningham is currently being detained at the Suffolk County House of Corrections and is waiting to be sent back to Ireland.

"They came to his door the other day and took him… but he’s getting a lot of good help," he said.

"He’s getting help from members from the GAA here, help from consular officials here, from Ireland and from Washington.

"It’s a shame. He’s a high profile figure in the GAA community here. He’d be very well respected."

However it is still unknown how long Mr. Cunningham will be detained before being deported.

"We’ve heard it could take a week, it could take three weeks, it could take a month or two. We don’t know."

The Glencolmcille native was previously chairman of Boston Northeast GAA, and is also a member of the Board of Ambassadors for volunteer organisation Irish Network Boston.

Arrests

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reported a 38pc increase of individuals arrested who are known or suspected to be living in the country illegally.

A total of 41,318 people were arrested on civil immigration charges in a 100 day period between January and April 2017, a 37.6pc increase compared to same period in 2016.

The Boston Globe has noted that the crackdown is particularly evident in Boston, with the amount of federal arrests in relation to immigration doubling in the first two months of Donald Trump’s presidency when compared to the same time period last year.

Speaking about the recent surge in these arrests, ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan said: "Agents and officers have been given clear direction to focus on threats to public safety and national security, which has resulted in a substantial increase in the arrest of convicted criminal aliens.

"However, when we encounter others who are in the country unlawfully, we will execute our sworn duty and enforce the law.

"As the data demonstrates, ICE continues to execute our mission professionally and in accordance with the law, and our communities will be much safer for it."

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