Lauren is wary. "So you won't say where I'm from, right? Or give my surname?"
I reassure her countless times but still she speaks in hushed tones down the telephone line with a TV booming in the background. She wants to tell her story but she's afraid that immigration services could track her down and deport her back to Ireland.
"Part of me yearns for home. I saw online last night the Christmas lights were switched on in Dublin and cried as I imagined walking down Grafton Street again with my sisters, doing our Christmas shopping, looking forward to great nights out in our local town."
Since the election of Donald Trump, Lauren tells me she hasn't been able to sleep.
Indeed, for the 50,000 undocumented Irish in the US, there have been so many sleepless nights.
"He clearly plans to take action against the undocumented," says Lauren nervously. "My fear is that when he starts, he won't know when to stop. I live in San Francisco, which is a 'Sanctuary City' where if you're caught for a misdemeanour, you can't be handed over to immigration officials - but he's talking of changing all of that. I feel like I'm going to be hunted down. And I've started to think I'd be better off coming clean and booking a flight home."
In early 2009 Lauren lost her job as a receptionist in a small Dublin firm and found it impossible to find a new job.
"I took a position outside London for six months but really didn't like it there. A friend suggested I come to New York for a few months and while there I could do some hours in a bar where she worked. Those few months turned into seven years and I haven't been home since."
She dated a New Yorker for two years and says had they married, her woes would have been over.
"We talked about it, getting married, but deep down I knew he wasn't the one. I know others in my situation would have done it for the legal status but I didn't feel it was right."
Lauren now works in a bar in a San Francisco suburb and she tells me the counter has become something of a shield which she finds herself hiding behind more and more.
"Most undocumented Irish over here work in bars, restaurants or on construction sites. I never worried about being a bar tender but now I think it might be too public a job. Like a couple of months ago, two guys, Trump supporters, asked me out straight if I was legal. I was shocked but managed to maintain my composure, giggle and say I was. I wear a wedding ring at work, ham up the American accent and have built up a false story about a husband from Connecticut. Now I engage less with customers just in case they're suspicious of me."
So is it all worth it? The fear, the uncertainty, the feelings of shame?
"Before I came to America, I used to think what's wrong with those people? They're breaking the law and have no basis to whine and complain," says Lauren.
"And now I'm one of them. I've built a life here, pay all my taxes, volunteer at a local homeless centre, work 60 hours a week and feel this city is where I belong. Those who knock the undocumented need to understand that we are willing to put our family lives on hold for this. That's how much it means to us. I'm not a terrorist or a scrounger - without people like me, we're told, the wheels of the American economy would grind to a halt."
In Chicago, Billy Lawless, Galway-born restaurateur, campaigner for the rights of Irish migrants to the US and the first ever overseas-based member of Seanad Éireann, explains that the undocumented are extremely worried.
"They seek reassurance but we're operating in the dark. Every time you think this won't be as bad as we feared, something else happens which causes ripples of panic. The appointment of conservative Stephen Bannon as chief strategist by President-elect Trump sends a message that migrants feel very uncomfortable with - especially the undocumented."
And he tells me of a meeting of undocumented migrants from around the globe held in Chicago last week where 200 people walked out of the shadows seeking some form of positive news.
"Of the 200 in the room, at least 100 were in tears. I don't think, in all my time in the US, I'd experienced anything so grim in terms of the undocumented issue."
It all seems a world away from June of this year, when outgoing President Barrack Obama put an executive order before the Supreme Court which could have paved the way for thousands of undocumented Irish, who'd been in the US for at least five years and who had children born there, to come and go as they please and finally visit their native land.
"You know, we thought that executive order would make it through, but the Supreme Court judges were equally divided and so the order was defeated. It was devastating and the legal limbo continues," says Billy.
Trump's reaction to the ruling was that the courts "kept us safe".
Billy says despite the rhetoric and showboating of some, he's hopeful the undocumented Irish in the US will continue to live in relative security.
"Chicago is a complete migrant city. Without migrants it, and so many other cities, wouldn't function. Many of these are undocumented. And thankfully this is a Sanctuary City and it must continue to be so. I'm an optimist and hope sense will prevail but I must send a word of warning to any young Irish people thinking of coming to America and remaining to work beyond their VISA entitlements - do not do it, you'll end up regretting it."
Seamus from Tipperary regrets it when the Premier County hurlers take to the field for All-Ireland Final Sunday.
"That's when my heart really sinks. What I wouldn't give to be standing on the hill," he says in such a strong Tipp accent that you'd doubt he'd ever crossed the county bounds. There have been other times, too, over the last 21 years when the dad-of-one has felt so isolated.
"My grandfather, with whom I was very close and who'd visit me on Thanksgiving nearly every year, passed away a few years ago. It was tough not being able to say goodbye."
Still the family travel en masse to his new home in Illinois to celebrate the holidays each year but as Seamus explains: "It's hard to describe how difficult it is saying goodbye to them at the airport. It's heartbreaking but my little lad here now is six-years-old and so I feel I have to remain for as long as I can."
Seamus's wife is a legal US citizen but as he entered the US via Canada on three separate occasions over the years, the last time in 2000, legal status through marriage is not available to him - for now.
"In the next few months, my lawyer is going to lodge a request for me to remain and get a work permit. It's a risk but he's confident it will work. We're going to argue that I did nothing wrong entering through Canada but that immigration officials didn't ask me any questions or alert me to potential wrong-doing."
There's a risk that by putting his head above the parapet in the Trump-era an unsuccessful legal challenge could result in detainment but Seamus, who co-owns a construction company, says he's not too worried.
"Look, what's the worst that could happen? If we're deported, then we'll just have to make the best of it and start life again at home."
But for every one laid-back Seamus there are 10 worried Laurens. They all wait anxiously to see what happens next.