The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) appealed to the Embassy of the United States of America in Dublin yesterday, March 10, to ask that the Ambassador waive the 3- and 10-year unlawful presence bars currently in place for undocumented Irish living in the U.S.
In a letter addressed to U.S. Ambassador Kevin O’Malley, the ILIR requested that those Irish who would currently be barred for 3 to 10 years from re-entering the United States on leaving the country, be given the opportunity to begin the legal process of residency in the U.S. without waiting 3- or 10-years.
Ciaran Staunton, President of the ILIR, called on the Ambassador to introduce a similar waiver to the one currently being implemented in Mexico. "There is already a precedent for this waiver in operation at the U.S. mission in Mexico.The U.S. Embassy in Mexico issued over 50,000 waivers in 2010 to Mexicans who were eligible for the 10 year bar because they had previously overstayed but who wanted to regularize their status in the U.S. The Irish American community is asking for parity for Irish overstays who want to regularize their status in the U.S."
The ILIR is a lobby group “fighting for the voice of the estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish in the immigration debate.” They have become an important voice for Irish Americans on immigration and have stated that they look forward to seeing action from the embassy in Dublin on waivers which they believe will allow “Irish immigrants to once again have the opportunity to fully embrace the American Dream.”
Staunton and ILIR volunteers will be among those US immigration reform advocates taking part in a video conference for TDs and Senators in Dublin this evening.
A full copy of the letter reads:
Dear Mr. Ambassador,
My name is Ciaran Staunton, I am the president of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform based in New York City. I hope that you are enjoying your time in Ireland. We met at your swearing in ceremony by Vice President Joe Biden, on September 30. I look forward to meeting you again in Washington, D.C. at the White House St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
As a follow-on to our conversation in September regarding undocumented Irish in the U.S., I would formally ask you to implement a waiver policy, removing the current obstacle of the 3- and 10-year bars for Irish undocumented citizens in this country. Implementing this waiver would allow thousands of Irish citizens to regularize their status in this country through legal processes currently unavailable to them. They lack the ability to regularize due to the current policy of 3- and 10-year application restrictions if they were to return to Ireland to apply for status in the U.S.
Of the many Irish undocumented citizens here in the U.S., it is estimated that over 25 per cent of them could re-enter the country legally with a regularized status through sponsorship or investment if the 3- and 10-year bars are waived at the embassy in Dublin.
The Executive Action that President Obama has unveiled will have a small impact on the Irish community in the U.S.
As we discussed in our last conversation, there is already a precedent for this waiver in operation at the U.S. mission in Mexico. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico issued over 58,000 waivers in 2012 to Mexicans who were eligible for the 3- and-10 year bar because they had previously overstayed but who wanted to regularize their status in the U.S.
I see no obvious reason why the same could not be achieved for Irish citizens.
As the grandson of County Mayo immigrants, this could be a momentous occasion/achievement for you and many Irish-Americans: reopening the doors to the United States for the Irish and allowing Irish immigrants to once again have the opportunity to fully embrace the American Dream, as your Grandparents did.
I welcome the opportunity to continue our conversation on this important issue that impacts a significant number of Irish citizens now on U.S. soil.
Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform