“I didn't think it would happen anyway, so it’s hard to be too disappointed.”
Those were the words of an undocumented Irish native of Co. Kildare who has lived in New York for several years, upon hearing the news last week that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld lower court challenges to President Obama’s executive orders on immigration that would have provided a measure of relief to children brought here by their parents, and undocumented parents of U.S. citizens.
“When the news first came out about those orders, I remember thinking that maybe something good would finally happen, but then I remembered all the other false starts so I put it in the back of my mind,” the Kildare native, 41, told the Irish Voice.
He and his wife, also undocumented, have two American children and have “no intention” of returning to Ireland despite the latest setback. Not even if Donald Trump gets elected to the White House.
“We are American now, we consider ourselves that and we won’t be leaving anytime soon,” he said.
“It’s hard being here as an undocumented family, but the adjustment if we had to go back to Ireland would be worse.”
The Irish government expressed remorse at the Supreme Court’s 4-4 decision which keeps a lower court ruling barring the Obama orders from becoming a reality.
“I am obviously very disappointed that the president’s executive action, which might have benefited many of the Irish undocumented, will not now go ahead. Achieving relief for the undocumented Irish remains a key objective for both myself and for the government and we will continue to work with Irish immigration activists and with our friends on Capitol Hill to encourage immigration reform in the U.S.,” Flanagan said.
The Emerald Isle Immigration Center in New York also stated its disappointment at the Supreme Court ruling.
“Today’s ruling will prolong the agony of millions of immigrants and their families living in the shadows, and highlights the continued need for common sense immigration reform,” said the center’s executive director Siobhan Dennehy.
“This was a last beacon of hope for so many who would benefit in a positive way.”
The center also warned against scams targeted at immigrants who might be tricked into pursuing a new path to residency under Obama’s executive orders.
“Beware of any scams to apply for benefits immediately under this new program,” the Emerald Isle’s legal director John Stahl said.
The board president of the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers Celine Kennelly said, “CIIC has supported executive action from the beginning, and we are disheartened by the Supreme Court ruling. Non-action by [the court] leaves millions of undocumented people in the U.S., many Irish among them, living with uncertainty and fear.
“It is past time for the United States to address its broken immigration system, and CIIC will continue to promote the need for comprehensive immigration reform with the new administration and Congress in the coming year.”