Fianna Fáil spokesperson for the Irish Overseas and Diaspora Senator Mark Daly has welcomed reports that US President Barack Obama is considering granting work permits to undocumented parents of US citizens. The reports follow meetings between White House officials and a number of lobby groups.
Senator Daly commented, “A measure, such as the one being reported, would mark a significant step forward for the thousands of undocumented Irish people living in the US. Their “illegal” status affects them on a daily basis; it has a huge impact on their ability to work and makes it virtually impossible for them to return home for family occasions.
“Despite the fact that many of the 50,000 Irish people have been living in America for decades, they have virtually no rights and their illegality causes untold heartbreak for them and their families. There are thousands of Irish couple who have had children in the US but are unable to bring their children home to Ireland for holidays for fear they will not be allowed back into the States.
“I have been working consistently to progress the plight of the undocumented Irish in the US, and published the party’s first policy document on the issue. I want to see a stronger emphasis on inter-parliamentary relations between the Irish and US Governments in order to strengthen the rights of Irish citizens in the US and to continue to pursue a solution to the undocumented problem. This Government has finally recognised the importance of a Minister for the Irish Overseas and the Diaspora with the appointment of Minister Jimmy Deenihan, however it is essential that he prioritises the immigration reform for the 50,000 undocumented Irish in the US”, Senator Daly added.
“The latest reports that President Obama is considering work permits for undocumented parents of US citizens is extremely welcome, but it is incumbent on Minister Deenihan to continue to put pressure on the US Government to ensure that the measure is advanced. This move would relieve the fear that many undocumented Irish parents feel, and would allow them to live their lives without having to look over their shoulder. I will be holding discussions with Irish emigrant groups in the US to see how best we can progress this issue and I am calling on Minister Deenihan to use his role to ensure that these measures come to fruition”.