Irish Community Fearful about Immigrant Deportations

The Irish and Irish-American community is living in fear of the sudden deportation of its members from the US, according to a Boston-based immigration lawyer. Several Irish citizens have been arrested after coming to the attention of immigration authorities in the country, says the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Department is aware of the case of well-known Boston GAA member, John Cunningham, and consular help is being given. A spokesman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has confirmed that Cunningham was taken into custody on 16 June, for ‘immigration violations’, and says that Cunningham illegally remained in the country after his US visa, legally obtained via the Visa Waiver Program, had expired.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement say that those who take part in the Visa Waiver Program are subject to mandatory detention, and have agreed to waive their legal rights to have a hearing in front of an immigration judge. In March, Cunningham was interviewed on the RTE program Prime Time, about undocumented immigrants residing illegally in the US. Speaking on the same network’s News at One, John Foley, Cunningham’s lawyer, says his client’s world has now turned upside down.

The situation regarding the arrest of Irish citizens is being closely monitored by Irish consulates across the US and by Washington’s Irish Embassy, in collaboration with the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers. Despite growing concerns, the number of Irish immigrants deported has not, so far, increased in 2017.