Press Centre

Transatlantic Support Grows for Undocumented Migrants as Irish and US Leaders Meet for St Patrick’s Day

MEDIA RELEASE 14.03.2013

As the Taoiseach and Tánaiste prepare to travel to the US for St Patrick’s Day celebrations, they have made clear their intentions to lobby on behalf of the Irish undocumented for immigration reform in the US.  Today, at a briefing in Dublin city centre, undocumented migrants, supporters and allies called on the Irish Government to take action and respond to the precarious situation of undocumented migrants living in Ireland.

Edel McGinley of Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) said “Regularisation is urgently needed in both Ireland and the US.  Proposals submitted by MRCI to the Department of Justice in 2011 are very similar to reforms recently unveiled by the White House. The importance of the Irish Government considering this proposal in the Irish context cannot be underestimated. This strengthens representations being made on behalf of the Irish undocumented as our leaders travel to New York and Washington for St Patrick’s day.”

Speaking by live video link up from Boston, Ronnie Millar, of the Irish International Immigrant Centre, a group assisting undocumented Irish for over 20 years said, “St Patrick’s Day is a day of celebration across the globe for Irish people, yet many Irish citizens remain in vulnerable and difficult situations as a result of their undocumented status. Recent moves towards regularisation by President Obama are a hugely welcome development for the 11 million undocumented migrants in the US, including some 50,000 Irish citizens.”

Mr Millar continued, “Today we stand in solidarity with all undocumented immigrants wherever they are from and wherever they live, including undocumented migrants in Ireland. We believe that all people should be able to live free from fear, with rights and dignity and to be united with loved ones. I think all Irish people can empathise with this situation.”

Speaking on behalf of the Justice for the Undocumented Campaign, Elisa Fuentes originally from the Philippines said “It is very hard being undocumented. I feel invisible, yet as a group we contribute €18 million annually in consumer spending to the Irish economy; the majority of us pay tax and PRSI, but we are without rights. Many members of our group have been here up to 10 years. Ireland is our home.”

 Ms McGinley concluded, “An estimated 30,000 undocumented people, including families and children, live and work in Ireland. They are part of our communities; they are our co-workers, our friends and our neighbours. Introducing a regularisation scheme in Ireland will show leadership and vision and demonstrate the Irish Government’s commitment to solving the situation of the undocumented in Ireland and the US. Today we are urging the Irish Government in its discussions with US leaders to highlight efforts being made in Ireland to provide a fair and pragmatic solution for the undocumented.”

NOTES

Irish International Immigrant Centre

For more than 20 years, the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC) has supported Irish immigrants as they made the journey to the United States.  Based on that experience, the IIIC now aids immigrants from around the world as they transition into life in the United States.  Serving immigrants from over 100 countries, the IIIC focuses on legal and social integration into American society.  Through partnerships with private and public organizations, the IIIC aims to unite the variety of traditions in our multicultural society by advocating for respect, dignity, and equal opportunities and protections for all.  http://iiicenter.org/

Earned Regularisation in Ireland: http://mrci.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/How-Earned-Regularisation-would-Work.pdf

Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform USA: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/01/23/us/politics/28immigration-principles-document.html?_r=0

Justice for the Undocumented Campaign: http://www.mrci.ie/our-work/justice-for-undocumented/