Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Brendan Smith has called on the Government to push for greater progress on legislation to deal with the ‘undocumented Irish’ in the United States.

Questioning the Minister for Foreign Affairs Éamon Gilmore about the matter in the Dáil, Deputy Smith called for an update on moves to regularise the status of illegal Irish immigrants living in the US.

“There are approximately 50,000 ‘undocumented’ Irish people living in the United States. They are living in limbo.  Not only does their unofficial status cause problems in work and everyday life, it also means they cannot visit home. This is heart-breaking for them and their families back home in Ireland,” said Deputy Smith.

“I am asking the Tánaiste to progress this issue on his visit to Washington next month.  There have been a number of developments which seem to give some optimism that progress will be made.  The Speaker, M Boehner, was recently quoted as stating progress could be made with the Democrats through building goodwill on several unrelated legislative measures. It is significant that 250 senior Christian pastors went to Congress to lobby their representatives.  The intervention and involvement of senior CEOs of major corporations and chambers of commerce also adds a new dimension to the work done by various lobby groups during the years.  

“I believe that there is a strong onus on the Irish Government to ensure that our citizens who have been living in the US for years are looked after and are given the freedom to come home to Ireland to visit their families.  I am urging Minister Gilmore to progress this issue on his visit to Washington next month.  If he has an opportunity to do so, I urge him to make contact with Mr Boehner before his visit to highlight the importance we as a country attach to this issue.”