To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he plans discussions with the authorities in the United States of America
Question No. 10
Parliamentary Question - Oireachtas
To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he plans discussions with the authorities in the United States of America, given the ongoing concerns at the difficulties the undocumented Irish face and the concerns of their families at home; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Darragh O'Brien.
For ORAL answer on Thursday, 26th May, 2016.
Ref No: 11904/16
(Minister of State Mr. Joe McHugh T.D.)
Achieving relief for undocumented Irish migrants in the US and agreement on a facility for future legal migration between Ireland and the US remains a priority for the new Government. Our Embassy in Washington and Consulates elsewhere in the US are active in advocating immigration reform and the issue is also regularly addressed in high level political contacts between Ireland and the US Government.
While in Washington for St. Patrick’s Day, the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade met President Obama, Vice President Biden, Speaker Ryan, Senator Schumer and other key Congressional contacts from both sides of the aisle. During these meetings they emphasised the plight of the undocumented Irish in the US and encouraged both Houses of Congress to work on a bipartisan basis towards a comprehensive package of immigration reform measures.
In his speech at the Speaker’s lunch at Capitol Hill, the Taoiseach addressed the issues of immigration reform and urged Republicans and Democrats to work together to address the concerns of the undocumented Irish in the US. The Taoiseach also spoke of the need for improved legal migration channels for those Irish people who wish to live, work and develop their skills in the US for a time and emphasised the exceptional contribution made by Irish people to American society over the course of centuries of shared history.
Our Embassy in Washington continues to closely monitor the progress of the judicial case on President Obama’s Executive Actions on immigration reform. This case, which was brought by a coalition of US States seeking an injunction against the Executive Action, has now reached to the US Supreme Court, and it is expected that the Court will declare its decision next month. If the appeal succeeds and the measure is implemented, the Executive Action could benefit a significant number of our citizens by lifting the threat of deportation and allowing those undocumented immigrants who have been in the US for more than five years and who have children who are US citizens or legal permanent residents to work and travel more freely within the United States.
The new Government, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and our Embassy in Washington, will continue to actively pursue all opportunities to advance immigration reform that would be of benefit to our citizens, with the US Administration, both sides of the aisle in Congress and the US Embassy in Ireland.