Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the additional steps he intends taking to regularise the situation of undocumented Irish living in the United States; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
REPLY (Sept 17, 2014)
Minister Charlie Flanagan:
This has been, and will remain, a key priority for the Government in our bilateral relationship with the United States. Through our Embassy in Washington and our Consulates throughout the U.S., we are working closely with many other individuals and groups across Irish America and beyond, such as ILIR, the Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform and the AOH, towards achieving some relief for undocumented Irish migrants in the United States and improved channels for legal migration between Ireland and America.
Following the bipartisan U.S. Senate bill last year, and despite extensive combined efforts at Government, Embassy and Irish-American community levels, the U.S. House of Representatives, has not yet taken action in this regard. As a result, President Obama and his Administration have been looking at the scope for action on immigration via executive authority. While he had set a target of making decisions “by the end of the summer”, President Obama announced on September 6 that he would delay any such action until after the November U.S. elections.
I am conscious that many within the Irish-American community will be disappointed by this latest development. The extent and nature of any action that the U.S. Administration will be ready to take remains to be seen and the legal and political terrain involved is highly complex and there is clearly no guarantee as to the outcome that can be achieved via executive action. However, the Government will continue to work resolutely for some progress possible over the coming months from which currently undocumented Irish migrants in the U.S. and their families can benefit.
I will visit Washington D.C. at the end of September and intend to pursue further discussions on the matter with the U.S. Administration during that visit.