Charlie Flanagan, the minister for foreign affairs in Ireland, has gone on record as saying that undocumented Irish immigrants could benefit in their tens of thousands from the decision by US President Barack Obama to use his executive authority to enact immigration reform.
Flanagan says that the move represents an important step towards full immigration reform in the United States, though it is still only the beginning of what is needed. “I am happy that progress is real and I am determined that as many Irish nationals as possible will benefit from these changes,” Flanagan notes. There are believed to be around 50,000 undocumented Irish immigrants currently living in the US and Flanagan added that while he is pleased by President Obama’s decision, legislation enacted by Congress is still crucial for the future.
Both major political parties in the House of Representatives have indicated interest in sorting out the situation for the undocumented Irish immigrants prevented from returning to their home country to see friends and family due to their lack of legal status. Denis Naughton, an Independent TD, says that the travel issues arising from Obama’s executive orders need further clarification.
The Irish government, advocates for immigration reform and embassy staff will be continuing to work for the American government, Flanagan declared. He says that the president’s announcement represents a positive change and the first sign of real progress finally being made after a lot of work by a lot of people over many years