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Dublin: 11 °C Sunday 20 April, 2014

Column: ‘I’m living as an undocumented migrant in Ireland’

“Mary” has been living in Ireland since 2004 and says she can’t imagine her life anywhere else. Here, she explains what it’s like to live under the constant fear of deportation.

Image: Migrant Rights Centre Ireland

An estimated 30,000 undocumented people including families and children live and work in Ireland. The Migrants Rights Centre Ireland says these people are part of our communities now –  they are our co-workers, our friends and our neighbours, which is why they are calling for an introduction a regularisation scheme in Ireland, which they state will show leadership and vision and demonstrate the Irish Government’s commitment to solving the situation of the undocumented in Ireland and the US. Here Mary tells us about her life in Ireland and why she feels this is now her home. She writes:

IN 2004 WE were attracted to Ireland by the vast employment opportunities and quality of life. My husband was the first to come, then me and our daughter who was then eight years old. The idea was to stay for a while working and then to go to Brazil at some point. But over the months, we integrated into Irish life and were totally delighted with your way of life here.

People are so well-educated, Ireland is safe, and your quality of life is unique. The perfect place to create an honoured citizen, who works hard and values the world we live in and what is important.

This is our home

Our daughter started attending school and making friends. She is very clever, bright and did very well in her school. The years went by and she was growing up in this place, so blessed. She is in fourth year and cannot imagine her future away from here, her home.

Currently we live on the edges. We live in fear, that all that bright future she has will be affected by the current status we are at: undocumented. I work as a childminder and love what I do but I despair to think that one day we could be told to get out of Ireland and have no more contact with the children that I love with all my heart.

My husband was a lawyer in Brazil and feels very frustrated not to pursue a better job, a job that he can show his real ability. He works as a cleaner here. This has also affected our married life. But I admire him immensely for everything he does.

Not able to travel

We want to stay here and know that better days will come. Two years ago my father-in-law died, we could not get home to the funeral. We were heartbroken. I have not seen my parents for four years (my mother is a doctor and works very hard in Brazil) and it’s sore, deep in my soul, that something might happen to them there and I cannot go to see them.

Ireland is our home now.  We are here over nine years, we feel like we belong here, our lives are here and we contribute every day to the economy. We have lots of Brazilian friends who were living here for years but they decided back home for good after the recession. But we didn’t, because we are not here because of the money.

We are here because this is our HOME.

I want to share my story but I am one of thousands of people in this situation. We are asking for a chance to be recognised and contribute more formally to Irish society.

I know that Irish people value fairness, equality and justice and I hope that you will be able to understand our situation and help us to get a solution.

Read: Undocumented in Ireland will celebrate St Patrick’s Day ‘in the shadows’>

Read: Gilmore rings US Senators as pressure grows for deal on Irish illegals>

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