Tuesday 22 January 2019

Trump scheme sparks fear for the illegal Irish

US President Donald Trump. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

John Downing and Kathleen Hunter

There are fears tens of thousands of illegal Irish immigrants will be caught by a new crackdown ordered by US President Donald Trump.

He plans an executive order ending the right of US citizenship for children born in the United States to non-citizens and immigrants who are in the country illegally.

The measure comes a week ahead of important mid-term elections in the USA.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney was unavailable for comment on the matter, but Fianna Fáil's foreign affairs spokesman, Niall Collins, said he was concerned about the fate of Irish illegal immigrants in the USA.

"This will add to the worries of people already in a difficult situation. We are still waiting on a promised initiative to help Irish people left in this plight," Mr Collins said.

There are varying estimates of the numbers of Irish involved in this precarious position in the USA. Some estimates suggest the number may be as low as 10,000 Irish people but others put the figure at nearer 50,000.

Mr Trump told the 'Axios' news website: "We're the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States. It's ridiculous. And it has to end."

Mr Trump claimed it would not take a constitutional amendment to rescind birthright citizenship from some people born in the US, a stance that would undoubtedly draw a legal challenge should he proceed.

"It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't," he said.

The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution spells out birthplace as an arbiter of citizenship, stating that: "All persons born or naturalised in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States."

Irish Independent

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