Obama visit sparks call to help undocumented migrants

THE visit of Barack Obama gives hope to the undocumented living here and in the US, the Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland has said.

According to the MRCI there are 30,000 undocumented migrants, including children and families, living in Ireland who require a humanitarian solution.

Edel McGinley of the MRCI said that just like the Irish in the US, they are deeply rooted within our communities, working, paying taxes and trying to make a better life for themselves and their families.

“They live in the shadows under tremendous stress and fear of deportation, and they endure greater poverty and isolation,” she said. “They are effectively cut off from visiting their extended families, are more vulnerable to exploitation and are excluded from basic services and opportunities for progression.”

Jayson, originally from the Philippines, came to Ireland in 2004 and describes how it feels to be undocumented.

“I feel invisible. I have three children and although we talk by phone and Skype as often as possible, it makes me very sad. My youngest gets upset and keeps asking, ‘Dad, why are you not coming home?’.

“I tell him a few more months, but now it’s been seven years. I feel I am in limbo. I am not looking for a hand-out, but for fair consideration to be given to finding a solution. A regularisation scheme would make a huge difference to me and my children.”

Ms McGinley said many people became undocumented here due to the previous government’s failure to establish coherent immigration structures and policies. She said Ireland had the opportunity to provide a fair and pragmatic solution to this by introducing a regularisation scheme.

“The introduction of a scheme for undocumented people in Ireland would give credibility to Irish efforts to persuade the Obama administration to regularise tens of thousands of undocumented Irish citizens settled in the US,” she said.

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