Gerry Adams urges Government to 'up its game' on undocumented Irish 'living in fear' during US visit

Gerry Adams called on the Irish Government to increase its efforts to "secure a positive resolution" for the undocumented Irish living in the US. He spoke during his two-day visit to the US.

“Many use Irish passports and, in my short time here, some people have asked me about the campaign for votes in Irish Presidential elections. Others have taken the opportunity to raise concerns around the 50,000 undocumented Irish living there. I share those concerns,” he said.

The Sinn Féin leader urged the Government to “significantly up its game in its efforts to secure a positive resolution for the thousands of undocumented Irish living in the USA”.

“Since the election of President Trump, and the introduction of new measures by the administration to expel illegal immigrants, many in the Irish American community are living in fear and apprehension of the knock on the door. According to the USA’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch of Homeland Security, there was a 37% increase in arrests on immigration charges in the first three months of President Trump’s presidency.

“Most undocumented Irish have lived in the USA for years. Some are married to US citizens and have children who go to school and have deep family ties now. They are good model citizens who contribute to their local communities and pay their taxes.

“This is a vitally important matter for Irish citizens in the USA and for their families at home worried by their lack of legal status. There is an onus on the new Taoiseach to put in place an enhanced and more focussed strategy for progressing this issue in the months ahead.

“Immigration reform is a huge political issue in the USA. It is supported by many on Capitol Hill and among those other ethnic groups also facing difficulty. The government must increase its engagement in the time ahead and intensify its lobbying campaign with the Trump administration and with congressional leaders.”

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