Fine Gael Clare Senator and Seanad Spokesperson on Justice, Martin Conway and his party colleague, Pat Breen have welcomed the historic announcement by President Obama that aims to protect up to five million undocumented immigrants from deportation.
“The President’s plan promises to lift the threat of deportation and to allow the undocumented to work and travel more freely within the United States.
“It will allow undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, known as green card holders, to legally live and work in the country for a period of three years.
“The undocumented Irish in the US want to be legal. They want to pay their taxes. They want to participate in the society which they now call home. Many of the illegal Irish in America are now in long term relationships with families of their own, who to participate fully in their adopted country.
“I believe that this action by President Obama represents a strong start on immigration reform which may allow many undocumented Irish in the US to come out of the shadows and plan their futures,” said Senator Conway.
Meanwhile, Deputy Breen, the Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the first steps on immigration reform should usher in a more compassionate approach, paving the way for many undocumented Irish in the United States to visit home.
“The plight of the undocumented Irish has been a priority for our Committee, with five delegations travelling to Washington during this Dail term to meet with key voices on Capitol Hill on the issue. My visit there in September 2014 included meetings with Speaker John Boehner and Congressmen Paul Ryan and Luis Gutierrez. While acknowledging the opposition to the Obama proposals within Congress, I hope that the political will evident in Washington during my visit will deliver a practical and commonsense solution,” he said.