Almost 2,000 people have emailed the Taoiseach in advance of his trip to the White House to remind him that there are undocumented people in Ireland too, and today (Sunday 15 March) undocumented migrants will gather in Dublin to send a St Patrick's Day message to undocumented people in the U.S.
Enda Kenny has strongly supported President Obama’s plan to regularise millions of undocumented migrants in America, and is expected to raise the issue with the President again on St. Patrick’s Day. Speaking in Atlanta on Saturday, the Taoiseach referenced US immigration reform and said, “Addressing the undocumented addresses your national economic need and the very human need of those living in the shadow.”
Undocumented migrants in Ireland and their supporters are now calling on the Taoiseach to recognise these very same needs in Ireland.
Helen Lowry of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) said, “The Taoiseach has shown a deep understanding for the plight of the undocumented Irish – separated from their families, living in the shadows, unable to travel home even for funerals. It’s time for him to acknowledge the people here in Ireland in exactly the same situation. By the time he reaches the White House on St. Patrick’s Day, over 2,000 people from all over Ireland will have emailed him to urge him to act for the undocumented in Ireland.”
Ms Lowry continued, “Regularising undocumented migrants in Ireland would bring them out from the shadows and into the system. It’s good for society, it’s good for the economy, and it would strengthen the Government’s advocacy in the US. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the smart thing to do.”
Huge banner in Dublin features St. Patrick’s Day message from undocumented in Ireland to undocumented in the US
Today, a huge banner will be draped across a city centre building (37 Dame Street, Dublin 2) with the message “Happy St. Patrick’s Day to the undocumented in the U.S.A. from the undocumented in Ireland.” The banner was organised by MRCI’s Justice for the Undocumented campaign, which is calling for a regularisation scheme for the undocumented similar to the one proposed in the States. A large turnout of undocumented campaigners, families and supporters is expected on Dame Street this morning to watch the banner being dropped and to begin St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Founding member of the Justice for the Undocumented campaign, Jayson Montenegro, is undocumented and has lived and worked in Ireland for 12 years.
Mr Montenegro said, “We’re wishing the undocumented in America a happy St. Patrick’s Day because we know how they feel. Undocumented people in Ireland share the struggles and fears of the Irish undocumented in America, and we share their hopes and dreams too. We support their fight for regularisation, and we wish the Taoiseach the very best in his efforts to assist them. Undocumented workers and families in Ireland just want the chance to get regularised, too.”
Jayson Montenegro and Helen Lowry are available for interview, along with other undocumented members of the campaign.
Email campaign: The email sent to Enda Kenny by over 1,900 people is online here: http://www.mrci.ie/take-action/6300/ The 21-day email campaign was launched at midnight on February 24th and will end on St. Patrick’s Day.
Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) estimates that there are some 26,000 undocumented men, women and children in Ireland today. Most have lived here for at least 5 years, and over 20% are here for more than 10 years. Further details: http://www.mrci.ie/resources/publications/ireland-is-home-survey-policy-paper-on-the-lives-of-undocumented-migrants-in-ireland/
Full text of the Taoiseach’s Atlanta speech: http://www.finegael.ie/latest-news/2015/speech-by-an-taoiseach-at/index.xml