50,000 Irish in US at risk of Trump presidency as deportation looms
The Trump presidency spells disaster for the estimated 50,000 Irish illegally living in the US, a leading immigration lawyer has warned.
Caro Kinsella expects Donald Trump to sign orders authorising the deportation of illegals with criminal records within days, before broadening deportations out to all illegals.
Mr Trump pledged to take action on "criminal illegals" within his first 100 days in office.
Having already signed an executive order aimed at dismantling Obamacare, Limerick-born Ms Kinsella fully expects the US president's next major action will be to follow up on his campaign pledges on illegal immigrants.
The Florida-based attorney said Mr Trump would want to show "shock and awe" in the first days of his presidency.
"When the executive order is signed, the deportations are going to be at a rate that is mindblowing," she said.
In an interview with the Irish Independent, she said immigration authorities already had lists of illegals compiled and ready to go for when Mr Trump signs the executive order.
However, she believes deportations will move to an even higher pace if Mr Trump carries out his promise to do away with so-called sanctuary cities, where it is easier for illegals to live as they do not have to give law enforcement agencies information about their immigration status.
While Mr Trump has consistently pledged to kick out foreign criminals, just how stringent the definition of "criminal" will be remains to be seen.
"It is very worrying when he says criminal, because he hasn't defined it," Ms Kinsella said.
"Are we talking about a guy that had a DUI 10 years ago? How are they going to define criminal?
"If you are a green-card holder and you have committed a shoplifting offence, then that crime can actually have you deported from the US.
"So crimes that are technically innocuous, that are misdemeanours, can have severe consequences, even if you are legal in the US."
Ms Kinsella said many Irish illegals had done well in the US and become prominent businesspeople.
These were people who may have overstayed an initial visa, but had been able to continue working after obtaining a social security number and a state identification card.
"You would be surprised at the type of people who are inside the US without immigration papers," Ms Kinsella said.
"Often they are successful people who have really progressed, but for one reason or another they were remiss with their immigration and as a result now they are in limbo. They could be employing people and have successful businesses."
Ms Kinsella expects the J1 programme, under which Irish students have travelled to the US to work during the summer since the 1960s, will get a stay of execution.
"Down the line, the J1 programme is in jeopardy. But I don't think it is high priority yet," she said.
"Because he wants to do all these other things - mass deportations, building his wall and trying to renegotiate Nafta (North America Free Trade Agreement).
"I think he will do those things first before he comes to the J1 programme."