We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Carolyn Kaster/AP/Press Association Images
Undocumented Irish

Prospects of undocumented Irish in US boosted by Obama speech, says Tánaiste

The position of undocumented Irish in the US is an important priority of the Government, and an ongoing dialogue with the US Administration and Congress is being pursued, says Eamon Gilmore.

THE TÁNAISTE EAMON Gilmore has said that “comprehensive reform of the US immigration system” is needed to improve the status of undocumented Irish in the US, but that President Barack Obama’s emphasis on immigration reform brings renewed hope to those living in the country.

Gilmore said the position of undocumented Irish in the US continued to be an important priority of the Government, and that an ongoing dialogue with the US Administration and Congress was being pursued in relation to the issue.

While noting that legal change on the US side was likely to be the only manner in which a resolution can be achieved, Gilmore added that “the prospects for such reform would appear to have advanced in the wake of Obama’s re-election and his emphasis on immigration reform in his inauguration address sends a positive signal”.

Addressing a parliamentary question by Deputy Brendan Smith, the Tánaiste said the Irish embassy in Washington was in close liaison with  Irish-American community representatives in order to ensure that the interests and concerns of any undocumented Irish immigrants are included in any future legislation.

Although noting that he had personally raised the issue of E-3 visas with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and that the Taoiseach had also discussed immigration reform with President Obama, Gilmore admitted that it was not currently possible to accurately speculate on a timescale for such a legislative deal.

Speaking on the subject last year, Gilmore said that – due to the nature of their status – it was “not possible to provide an accurate estimate” for the number of undocumented Irish living in the US. However, it has been estimated that up to 50,000 Irish people are living undocumented in the country.

Yesterday, US lawmakers expressed optimism that they could unite on immigration reform that would provide a pathway to citizenship for more than 10 million illegal migrants.

Republican Senator John McCain, who once championed comprehensive reform but backtracked during his failed 2008 presidential run, said there was a greater willingness to address the issue after last year’s election, in which the increasingly important Hispanic vote swung strongly behind President Barack Obama’s Democrats.

Read: Cautious optimism as US senators meet on immigration reform

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.