As An Taoiseach meets with Barack Obama in Washington today, Nessa Childers MEP is supporting calls for Enda Kenny to look closer to home when highlighting the issue of undocumented persons.
‘For years we have been putting pressure on US officials to recognise the many Irish people in the States who do not have proper documentation but contribute greatly to American society.
‘However, and while that is an important issue, I would support the Immigration Council Of Ireland’s position: that here in Ireland we also have a forgotten, invisible population that live with uncertainty and in fear.’
It is thought that some 30,000 undocumented immigrants live in this country.
The independent MEP added: ‘Of course it’s not about an overnight moratorium that suddenly sees everyone and anyone gain Irish citizenship and an Irish passport. But there are individuals that have been here for more than a decade. They have family here. Their children go to school here. They want to work and contribute their taxes and pay their own way. And it is these types of people who should be allowed to officially take their place in Irish society.’
Hilkka Becker, a solicitor with the Immigrant Council, said earlier this week: ‘We see at first hand the confusion, frustration and hurt caused by an immigration system which is cumbersome, lacks transparency and places an over-reliance on discretion.’
Ms Childers concluded: ‘Mr Kenny will today be raising an important issue with the US President that will potentially have a massive impact on the lives of Irish people living there, however, I hope that when he returns to Ireland, he can prioritise the examination of a similar problem that occurs on home-soil.