Speaking to the Dail (Irish Parliament) on Tuesday, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny said a new drive to give legal status to Irish immigrants currently living outside the law in the U.S. would begin shortly.

He said that given security concerns in the U.S., "it may well be that a package of enforcement measures may have to be brought forward” and that a possibility existed that some other measures would be passed too.

The possibility is that current immigrants could apply for an E-3 visa, which would allow them to remain in the U.S., as long as they have an employer to sponsor them. The E-3 visa is currently only available to Australian citizens, but it could be amended to allow other nationalities to apply for it.  

Kenny explained that this amendment to the E-3 visa would be tabled by New York Senator Charles Schumer, who has been in regular contact with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform.

There is a quota of 10,500 E-3 visas per annum while there are thought to be up to 50, 000 undocumented Irish in the U.S.

Kenny said that while this was not ideal it would allow for a "release of pressure" with regards to undocumented immigrants. It would allow currently illegal immigrants to visit home for the first time in decades. Those who are undocumented cannot return home as they would not be permitted to re-enter the U.S.

Kenny also reiterated that that comprehensive

Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda KennyGoogle Image