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Niall Carson/PA

Gilmore in Washington to 'highlight plight' of undocumented Irish

The Tánaiste will also discuss the establishment of a visa regime for future legal migration between Ireland and the US.

TÁNAISTE AND MINISTER for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore today begins two days of meetings in Washington DC to “highlight the plight” of over 50,000 undocumented Irish people living in the US.

He will meet with several Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, including former Vice-Presidential candidate Congressman Paul Ryan, to push for reform of the American immigration system.

During his meetings, Gilmore will also discuss the establishment of a visa regime for future legal migration between Ireland and the US as part of a comprehensive reform package.

Last year the US Senate approved an immigration reform bill which would allow for a so-called “path to citizenship” for the almost 12 million undocumented migrants living in the US, including the 50,000 Irish emigrants.

Since then, the focus has been on the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where it is hoped cross-party support can still be secured for proposed reforms of the immigration system.

Speaking ahead of his departure, Gilmore said the government is “focused on trying to end the great hardship and uncertainty faced by undocumented Irish people living in the US, and by their families at home in Ireland”.

Securing overall agreement on US immigration reform will continue to be a complex and difficult process, but I am here to make sure that the Irish dimension to this debate is kept to the fore

During his trip, the Tánaiste will also discuss the political talks in Northern Ireland with members on Congress and Richard Haass.

Sinn Féin: ‘Undocumented Irish in US just want to live a full life paying their taxes’>

Read: Obama pushes immigration reform with Republicans reeling after shutdown>

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