Announcement on U.S. immigration reform gives hope to some undocumented Irish – Breen

November 21st, 2014 - Pat Breen

Chairman of Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee says work must continue

Fine Gael TD for Clare and Chairperson of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee, Pat Breen, has today (Friday) welcomed President Obama’s announcement on changes to the U.S. immigration system. Deputy Breen, who has lobbied key U.S politicians on Capitol Hill in his role as Chairperson of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee, said the move was a very encouraging step in the right direction.

“I warmly welcome this courageous decision by President Obama. This is real progress and will help some of the 50,000 undocumented Irish living and working in the United States.

“The plans will be a welcome relief for those with families born in the United States and who have lived there for over five years. They will be able to register their taxes and live without fear of deportation. Some should be able to travel home where there is a humanitarian need.

“I have consistently raised this issue with politicians and diplomats. Just last month I had a series of meetings with key players on immigration reform in the US Congress, including Speaker John Boehner and Congressmen Paul Ryan, former Vice-Presidential candidate, and Luis Gutierrez, a leading advocate of immigration reform. I stressed the plight of undocumented Irish in the US and my hope that they can finally emerge from living in the shadows as a result of immigration reform.

“President Obama’s announcement is real progress but there is more to be done. Some will not benefit from these new arrangements and I will continue to make representations in the United States on their behalf. The Government and our embassies and consulates in the US will also continue their tireless work, with a view to ensuring that as many Irish nationals as possible benefit.

“The hopes of many people have previously been raised and dashed on this issue. It is now evident that the White House has taken the political initiative and it will be interesting to see how the Republican-controlled House and Senate react. Through my contacts with key politicians in both parties, I will continue to make the case for reform.

“The progress has begun and we must ensure it continues so that all our undocumented Irish can live and work with security in the US, a country they have contributed so much to, and return home when the need arises. This is the beginning, not the end.”