Irish Republican News · November 26, 2016
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Irish immigrants fear Trump’s deportation plans


There is concern for the undocumented Irish living in the US after Donald Trump vowed to deport or imprison millions of immigrants.

While the US president-elect has rowed back on some of his campaign pledges, his immediate affirmation of a plan to round up and deport undocumented immigrants with criminal records -- a group he estimated at between two and three million people -- has caused alarm.

There are about 50,000 undocumented Irish in the US, and there were reports that the J1 programme, by which thousands of Irish students enter the US every year and work legally for a period of months, could also be in jeopardy.

“While we are all concerned with many of president-elect Trump’s statements on immigration during his campaign, we urge people not make any rash decisions or live in fear of a knock on the door,” said Ciaran Staunton, chairman of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform.

He emphasised that Mr Trump said he was focused on people with criminal records. He also criticised some media for “misleading” reports on the potential deportation of undocumented immigrants.

Requests for legal assistance by Irish immigrants are reported to have skyrocketed since the US election. Many undocumented Irish are exploring options and asking for advice should the immigration authorities come knocking at their door.

Recently introduced measures to normalise the status of children of undocumented immigrants are under threat. Trump has said he plans to take away the birthright of US citizenship from children whose parents are illegal, referring to them as ‘anchor babies’.

He also said he wanted to cut federal funding to the 300 sanctuary cities in the US that adopt policies designed not to prosecute people solely for being undocumented.

Describing Trump’s promise to have a mass deportation within his first 100 days in office, immigration lawyer Caro Kinsella said, “A mass deportation is physically and technically not possible -- it was done for shock and awe.”

“Yes people can be deported - but the thought of pulling people from their sleep and jobs is not going to happen,” she said.

“First they go through the deportation centre and then they have the right to a hearing before an immigration judge and the right to fight their case and discuss the reliefs available to them.

“It makes me very nervous to be honest with you. It’s nervous times and worrying times ahead.”

Meanwhile, the cautious reaction of the Dublin government to Trump’s election has been attracting its own criticism. Labour senator Aodhan O Riordain became an internet hit when a video was uploaded of him describing the President-elect as “a fascist” in an address to the Seanad.

“I can’t believe the reaction from An Taoiseach and from the Government and I don’t use the word fascist lightly but what else would you call somebody who threatens to imprison his political opponents?,” he said, adding: “The best we come out with is a phone call to say is it still okay to bring the shamrock”, referring to a phone call the Taoiseach had with Trump in the wake of his victory in which it was confirmed the annual St Patrick’s Day visit to the White House by Irish politicians would continue.

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© 2016 Irish Republican News