With the arrest of undocumented Irishman Keith Byrne, we asked IrishCentral readers how they feel about the undocumented Irish in the US.
On Friday, July 26, Irishman Keith Byrne was released from ICE custody three weeks after the undocumented father was arrested on his way to work in Philidelphia.
Byrne's story has raised plenty of debate of the subject of the undocumented and the undocumented Irish, in particular, and whether or not a pathway to citizenship should be opened up to them.
Married to an American citizen and owning his own small painting business, Byrne became a major talking point in Ireland and his case was pointed to as an example of Trump’s immigration crackdown gone wrong.
He was blocked from receiving a marriage green card because of two misdemeanor marijuana possession fines in Ireland which he admitted to while applying but his legal team has argued that he “has never been a danger to the community and he is not a national security risk."
IrishCentral asked Irish people in America and Irish Americans about their thoughts on the story and whether ICE is right to deport Byrne.
Irishman, Keith Byrne who was detained in the US over immigration offences says he was shocked and heartbroken by his arrest pic.twitter.com/DObHpo8C2H— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 28, 2019
Here are some of the responses:
C Kelly - Inwood, New York: Anyone that is undocumented in America is breaking the law. We are a country of laws. There is a path to proper documentation and it should not be overlooked. We have every right to send you back to your country.
Michael Healy - Newport, Rhode Island: I was undocumented for many years, despite the fact that my grandmother was a citizen and living here in the US at the time. My heart goes out to all undocumented persons from any country as I know first hand how difficult it is to live without a social security #.
Sarah - Boston, MA: Part of my heritage is Irish. Immigrants have a hard enough time moving to a new place without the threat of being kicked out of their new home. I love having a diverse group of people around me. It helps my children learn not to fear things that are different. This stupid president is trying to instill fear in everyone by shouting horrible things on television. I want all people who want to be in this country to stay and have a wonderful life.
MJ - Los Angeles, California: I love the Irish people. I am descended from Irish people. Irish people are very welcome in the U.S., but like everyone else, need to come in (and stay) legally.
Rev. Will - El Cajon, California: Undocumented people are in violation of the law as it stands. Why are they undocumented? Did they overstay on purpose? Are they fleeing persecution or prosecution? Is it possible to correct their status legally? That being said, fixing the broken immigration system in America should come before any draconian or other enforcement efforts.
Joni - New Jersey: America was built on hard-working people that came here to build a life for themselves. It is so hard and expensive because lawyers and immigration often take money from these desperate people that are building a dream for their families.
Robbyn - South Carolina: I know many undocumented people of multi nationalities, & know them all to be HARD WORKING, LAW ABIDING, TAX PAYING, RESPONSIBLE people. If anyone is doing all those things, I have no problem with them being here, documented or not. They should streamline Permanent residency requests & citizenship applications.
Mary Ellen Ries - Collingswood, New Jersey: I welcome them. I am half Irish and my grandmother immigrated from Ireland. I believe the words on the Statue of Liberty said it best, "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Shannan - Nashville, Tennessee: Like any undocumented person they can't break our laws and then cry foul when they get caught. Illegal not undocumented.
Anonymous - Land o Lakes, Florida: Regardless of national origin, if a person enters another country illegally or purposely overstays an otherwise legitimate visa, that person has committed a crime and should be returned to their country of origin. There's a right way to emigrate that is fair and legal. Do it the right way or don't do it at all.
Anonymous - Georgia, USA: As a citizen by birth, I am expected to obey the laws of this country. I do not understand why people who came here illegally or who stayed beyond their Visa are should not be held to the same standard. By DNA, I am 67% Irish, but I would not expect to simply arrive in Ireland and be allowed to stay.
Anonymous - McHenry Co, Illinois: They should be deported only if they've criminal records or have committed crimes while here. We have enough criminals of our own - we don't need them from other countries.
Anonymous - Middletown, Connecticut: They should let them stay. What is the purpose of separating law-abiding families except for cruelty?
Anonymous - Coventry, USA: I think all undocumented immigrants should be sent home. If they want to move to the USA they need to do it the legal way. Like every other country requires. We have laws for a reason and they need to be respected.
Anonymous - Los Angeles, California: Many are here to make a better life. The U.S. has to update it's immigration laws and allow people to apply for citizenship. But as bad as the Irish have it, the people of color seeking asylum are facing an atrocious situation created by our Racist-in-Chief. Kidnapping babies from parents and shipping them off to private concentration camps at the cost of $750 per person a day to the taxpayer. No plan to reunite these families. Housing them in cages in squalid conditions. Arguing in court that they shouldn't have to provide soap or toothbrushes. This is the United States? Horrible.
Do you agree or disagree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section, below.