Undocumented Irish immigrants in the US fear that the authorities will perform a surprise “round-up” of undocumented immigrants in the country. Parents are particularly concerned, with some already changing their telephone numbers in an attempt to protect them from such a scenario. Irish immigrants with minor criminal convictions have also been advised to seek legal advice before returning to Ireland, out of fear that they may be denied re-entry into the US.
The move comes as fears grow for the approximately 50,000 undocumented Irish immigrants in the US. This results from President Donald Trump’s attempts to follow through on his election promise of cracking down on illegal immigration and deporting many undocumented immigrants living in the country.
Kieran O’Sullivan, who works at Boston’s Irish Pastoral Centre as a US citizenship and immigration counselor, says that undocumented Irish immigrants are only going to be pushed further underground by the hard line on illegal immigration taken by President Trump. O’Sullivan adds that many such immigrants are depressed, isolated, and lonely, and in some cases even suicidal. There is a growing fear among both undocumented immigrants and even those with green cards.
But, Charlie Flanagan, the Foreign Affairs Minister, has expressed confidence that Congress will pursue immigration reform during this year. He says that the Irish government is doing everything possible to advocate for a pathway to legalization and relief for undocumented Irish immigrants already living in the US.