Irish Minister of State Dinny McGinley will urgently ask Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore for a comprehensive explanation of the actions of the Irish International Immigration Center (IIIC) in Boston, after it was revealed that they turned in an Irish student visa holder to U.S. authorities who were unaware of an alleged violation of her visa.
The center is funded by over $250,000 a year from the Irish tax payer.
IrishCentral has also learned that there have been major complaints dating back years over how the IIIC has dealt with Irish immigrants, and that attorneys have long complained of their attitude.
Leading New York immigration attorney James O’Malley has undertaken the case pro bono for the young Irish girl turned in by IIIC after years of what he said were bullying tactics by IIIC personnel towards many of his young J-1 visa clients.
“We have had numerous cases where this group mistreated our clients, bullied them and made life very difficult,” said O’Malley.
“It never made any sense. We deal with lots of J-1 visa agencies and they usually try to do their best to help their clients, not put obstacles in their way. These immigrant groups are funded in order to help people, not turn them in.”
O’Malley does not believe the young girl actually violated her visa, and he will seek to have it reinstated.
The young woman is a native of Donegal and was turned in after an IIIC official discovered she had written in a blog about working in a bar in addition to interning at IrishCentral. IIIC official Jude Clarke gave her details to the U.S. State Department, and the IIIC then wrote to her demanding that she leave the country.
“This is a dreadful thing to do to a young Irish immigrant,” said Minister McGinley, who hails from the same county as the young girl.
“The people who are supposed to be helping her instead have turned her in.
“I will be asking for a comprehensive explanation of how this center works and how the Irish government money is used,” he told IrishCentral.
Meanwhile, IrishCentral has learned that the Irish Consulate in Boston sought an urgent meeting with the IIIC leadership after the incident became public. It is believed that the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs is investigating how exactly the young girl was forced to leave.