A Government minister has urged colleagues to use their “very strong relationships” with Irish American politicians to block potential plans to remove thousands of illegal Irish immigrants from the US.
European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy made the comment as new US President Donald Trump said he wants to expel three million illegal immigrants and as US-born Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone warned “fundamental freedoms” are at immediate risk of being eroded.
Speaking after attending an emergency EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels over the US election result — an event described by the non-attending British foreign secretary Boris Johnson as a “whinge-o-rama” — Mr Murphy said Government is focused on the plight of illegal Irish people living in the US.
“The issue of Irish undocumented has always been a concern, and I think in the light of these comments [from Mr Trump] it will continue to be.
“We have very strong relationships with Irish American politicians in particular, and we will stress the point that these people [illegal Irish immigrants] have made their homes in America and are in many ways American.
“They want to stay there and contribute to their country and their way of life,” he told RTE Radio’s Morning Ireland.
The comments were made after Mr Trump said in his first post-election interview on Sunday night that he plans to remove up to three million illegal immigrants during his presidency.
While the figure is in line with outgoing president Barack Obama’s tenure, there are concerns it will increasingly focus on Irish citizens and other groups.
Speaking at a UN and Focus Ireland children’s rights event in Dublin yesterday, Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone said she fears “fundamental freedoms” in her homeland are at risk under a Donald Trump presidency.
“I was very disappointed and angry at the choice of president-elect Trump because of a lot of the issues that he spoke about. I feel very upset at the choice of the American people; at the same time as a democrat I have to accept that.
“But with the great privilege of being a cabinet minister here in another country, knowing the deep bonds that Ireland shares with America, regardless of who is in office in Dublin or Washington, I look forward to playing my part in raising our concerns with President Trump in the natural bilateral relations that any government would have with the US government,” she said.
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