At the request of the Fianna Fáil spokesperson on the Diaspora Senator Mark Daly, the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a special meeting to discuss President Barack Obama’s plan to overhaul the US immigration system. The Senator has called on the Minister of State for the Irish Overseas and the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan to come before the committee.
He is also urging the Government to provide extra funding to Irish organisations throughout the United States who will be helping some of the 50,000 undocumented Irish who qualify under the terms of the President’s executive order.
Senator Daly commented “There are many brilliant organisations working in the United States such as the ILIR (Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform), the Irish Pastoral Centres in Boston, San Francisco and Chicago and the Aisling Centre in New York. These groups are dealing with countless queries from the Irish community. Their work load has increased enormously in the past few weeks and is set to intensify in the coming months as many of the 50,000 undocumented prepare to come out of the shadows and work with the US authorities to become legal. President Obama himself referenced these people in his speeches, saying “there are Irish in Chicago who do not have their papers in order”.
“I am calling on the Irish government to provide the necessary funding for these organisations, who will be assisting the thousands of Irish living in the US to get their papers in order.
Senator Daly will also be pressing Minister Deenihan to engage with the US Government on the issue of ‘humanitarian visas’, which would allow those not covered by the executive order to travel home to Ireland to be with family at a time of distress, such as a bereavement.
“There also needs to be greater interaction between the Government and the US State Department on the issue of visa waivers. The State Department has made concessions for Mexico and our Government should be working to ensure that a similar deal can be secured for Ireland”.