Taoiseach to discuss case of 50,000 undocumented Irish with Obama

The Taoiseach will deliver a message that Ireland is making progress towards exiting the bailout when he meets US President Barack Obama in the White House today.

Proposed legislation to reform the US immigration system, which would affect 50,000 undocumented Irish, will also be discussed during the meeting which will be followed with an address by Mr Kenny to members of the US Senate and Congress at Capitol Hill.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said both he and the Taoiseach will be working the Obama administration and the legislators in the Senate and House on the issue of immigration reform.

“This is a legislative matter for the United States and you know there’s a cross-party group of senators and congressmen who are now working on a comprehensive piece of legislation that will include Irish immigrants,” he said.

“We are making it clear in all our discussions that we want to see the situation of the 50,000 or so Irish in the United States who are not documented, addressed.”

Earlier, Mr Kenny said unemployment was the “deepest hurt” of the economic crisis. Speaking at George Washington University, where he was presented with a ‘Making Democracy Work’ award, he said: “As democrats we cannot and will not allow a generation to grow up believing that democracy itself has failed to give them a reasonable chance in life.”

At an address to business leaders at the US Chamber of Commerce last night, Mr Kenny said Ireland that has made “clear and significant progress” in rebuilding the economy, reorganise the banks and restoring the country’s international reputation.

The proposed trade agreement between the US and the EU will also feature high on the agenda of today’s meeting between Mr Kenny and Mr Obama.

The meeting will be followed by the traditional presentation of the bowl of shamrocks.


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