Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, raised the recent announcement by the US President of executive action on immigration reform and the affect it will have on the 50,000 undocumented Irish in the US, with the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Dáil.
Crowe said that while the executive action is welcome and will help many of the undocumented Irish, he is still concerned over the terms around the right to travel and for those who are ignored because they don’t have US born children.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“This move by President Obama is a step right direction and could conceivably help five million people, including many undocumented Irish.
“It may give some access to get a social security card, allow some of them to work legally, apply for a driver’s license, and hopefully may allow some of them to travel home to see their family, in the near future.
“This move makes economic sense for the US authorities, it enhances their security, and it is the right thing to do.
“However their needs to be caution surrounding this announcement. It is asking people to come out of the shadows, but the big challenge is if anything goes wrong or chances they can’t go back.
“I am reiterating the calls that all undocumented Irish should speak to an immigration contact centre and an immigration attorney about this latest initiative from the Obama Administration.
“As this will inevitably see an increase in the workload and demand for services of immigration centres, I am calling on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to ensure that his Department meet this new reality with increased finance and supports.
“While we all welcome this important step, I can’t help but think of the millions who can’t apply because they are without or unable to have children, or LGBT, or don’t meet some other requirements, which unfortunately includes many of the undocumented Irish.
“I hope that we will see further progress on this initially step and that it will lead to legislation in the form of an immigration bill and I call on the Minister to continue to lobby on this front.”