A US Senate decision to fast-track new immigration measures has been welcomed in Ireland on behalf of many undocumented Irish citizens settled in the USA.
“I warmly welcome today’s decision by the US Senate to bring debate on the bill sponsored by Senators Chuck Hagel and Mel Martinez to a close, thus paving the way for its passage by the Senate within the next 24 hours,” he said.
“This is a very important and positive step and will be welcomed by the thousands of undocumented Irish.”
Attempts will now be made to reconcile the Senate bill with the security bill passed by the House last December.
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP said he had been in touch with the offices of senior US Congressional and Senate leaders to ask them to continue with their efforts to resolve the issue.
“Key decisions on the future of undocumented immigrants in the USA will be taken shortly,” he said. “These will have profound implications for the tens of thousands of Irish living and working in the US who have no legal status.
“Last night I was in contact with senior Congressional and Senate leaders to urge them to continue with their efforts to resolve this issue. I also spoke with Grant Lally, the President of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform. And in the near future a senior member of Sinn Féin will travel to the US to do what we can to support the campaign of the undocumented Irish.
“I would also urge all those living in the US to step up their support the Irish Lobby for Immigration reform.”
CANADIAN FAUX PAS
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin Mayor of Monaghan Pat Treanor has expressed his disappointment at the decision of an official in St. John’s airport in Canada to refuse him entry to the country. Councillor Treanor, who was sent back to Ireland, said he will contact the Canadian Embassy on his return and he is confident that the matter can be resolved.
The Monaghan Mayor was leading a cross party delegation to Prince Edward Island, which is twinned with County Monaghan, for a series of engagements with the Irish community on the island. Councillor Treanor had been in Canada twice in the last twelve months in his capacity as Mayor.
“At St John’s I went through immigration as before,” he said.
“The immigration officer said she had a problem with my passport, she couldn’t let me in to the country.”
Mr Treanor was given no reason for the refusal to allow him into Canada.
“It could be to do with being a former political prisoner 25 years ago,” said Treanor. “I intend contacting the Canadian embassy and, hopefully, resolving this and going straight back to Canada.”
A spokesperson for the Canadian embassy in Dublin initially said they were unlikely to be able to comment on the case because of data protection laws. However later said people who have a “criminal record” are not allowed into Canada without a visa.
“This case is complex and is being referred back to Canada,” he said.