The Irish undocumented have staged a major protest march to highlight their plight as illegal aliens – in Ireland.
Supporters of the demonstration have urged the government to offer illegals in Ireland the same support they have given to the undocumented in America.
Organizers said hundreds of Irish-based undocumented migrants risked public exposure when they staged a candlelit march to government buildings in Dublin.
Demanding the right to legalize their status, marchers outlined the problems facing an estimated 30,000 illegal residents in Ireland.
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Their banners included one which read: ‘Santa is Undocumented too’ as they called on the Irish government to take action on their behalf.
Migrants Rights Centre official Edel McGinley, who helped organize the march, told reporters: “Many of those present here today have taken a great risk to attend this demonstration.”
Marchers spoke of their personal plight as they seek to highlight their issue.
Jayson Montenegro is originally from the Philippines and has been living illegally in Ireland for almost eight years.
He told the crowd: “I haven’t seen my children in over eight years. Every year it gets harder, especially at Christmas. They ask me on the phone ‘Daddy, when are you coming to see us?’ It breaks my heart.”
Sri Lankan native Champika Wanniarachchi told protestors that her daughter is academically in the top five per cent of all Irish school students but cannot be sure of her future.
Wanniarachchi said: “What will happen to her when she wants to go to University? I want her to have a great life but I am really fearful for her future and that she won’t get that chance because she is undocumented.”
The marchers have already received the backing of Dublin City Council which recently passed a motion supporting the introduction of an "earned regularization scheme": allowing people working undocumented in Ireland to gain legal status.
Councillor Rebecca Moynihan said: “It would be disingenuous of us to support a similar campaign for Irish undocumented in the US while not extending the same consideration to undocumented migrants living in Ireland.”