Recent actions taken to address the situation of the undocumented Irish in the United States of America
To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the recent actions taken to address the situation of the undocumented Irish in the United States of America; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Darragh O'Brien.
For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 30th May, 2017.
The Government’s objectives regarding our undocumented citizens in the United States remain unchanged, namely: to achieve relief for the undocumented and facilitate greater pathways for legal migration to the United States.
In pursuit of these objectives the Government and Ireland’s diplomatic representatives in the US systematically avail of opportunities to raise immigration and the situation of the undocumented with the US Administration and Congressional representatives.
I raised these issues myself during my meetings in January and early February with senior members of Congress from both sides of the aisle and representatives of the new Administration in Washington DC.
The Taoiseach subsequently used the opportunity of his meetings with President Trump, Vice-President Pence, Speaker Ryan, and other senior US leaders during the St. Patrick’s Day engagements in Washington DC to raise immigration-related issues and to convey the continuing importance which we attach to them.
My colleague, Minister of State Joe McHugh, visited New York in March, where he met a number of emigrant support groups who are directly involved in supporting the undocumented and heard their perspectives on recent developments. Subsequently, on 3 May, Minister of State McHugh convened a discussion in my Department’s Headquarters on the challenges facing the undocumented Irish community in the US. This event took place on the eve of the Global Irish Civic Forum in Dublin and brought together leading figures who are committed to this issue, including a number of our Senators and representatives of Irish Immigration Centers, as well as the deputy head of mission in our Embassy in Washington, and a representative of families of undocumented citizens abroad.
Minister of State McHugh also recently announced an additional €50,000 funding from the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme budget for the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centres, which provides authoritative advice and vital services to our undocumented citizens in the US.
Issues around immigration and the undocumented are an important element of the work of Ireland’s diplomatic representatives in the US. Our Embassy in Washington and our six Consulates across the United States work with Irish immigration centres on a daily basis in providing support to Irish citizens.
I can assure the Deputies of the Government’s continued commitment to pursuing these matters on behalf of our citizens in the US.