Father optimistic of son's chances of staying in US after he is reunited with family

Father optimistic of son's chances of staying in US after he is reunited with family

The Cork man who faced deportation from the US has been reunited with his family.

Keith Byrne was released from prison last night and returned home to his wife and children in Philadelphia.

He overstayed the visa he used to enter the country in 2007, and was arrested earlier this month by immigration officials.

However, on Wednesday a federal judge ordered the 37-year-old be released from detention and given a stay on removal from America.

Mr Byrne will have to file his immigration case in a different district of Pennsylvania at a future date once he is released

Keith Byrne’s father Jim told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that his son was still in shock when he spoke to him by mobile phone last night.

“I was talking to him in the car as he left the facility. My mind was blown. You don’t know the relief.”

Mr Byrne (senior) had been in hospital when his son was first detained by ICE. “It’s been a long fortnight and to see his name on the phone was brilliant.”

He is now much more optimistic about this son’s chances of remaining in the US.

He said: “I’ve been reading a lot about such cases – there were 45 Irish people deported last year. It seems that what you cannot do is come in contact with the law.

“He’s been there 12 years and he’s never had any brush with the law.”

His son anticipates “a lot of attention” in the morning and does not know how he’s going to “handle it.”

He is now looking forward to spending the weekend with his wife and family.

Melinda Byrne (sister of Keith), added that her brother will be seeking an extension to the 30 days he has been given to prepare his case which will be heard before a federal judge.

“He will be taking it day by day. It is great that he can make his case in the local area in Philadelphia. That relieves the pressure."

Fianna Fáil's foreign affairs spokesman, Niall Collins, welcomed the news.

Mr Collins said: "It's great news that Keith has now been reunited with his wife and kids, it was a hugely upsetting and traumatic experience for him, but also for the thousands of undocumented Irish across the United States.

"So the Government has to redouble its efforts to try and bring about a realistic and lasting solution to the crisis of the undocumented Irish in the United States."


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