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As Ireland bears witness to a new wave of immigration, countless numbers are flocking to New York in search a new life.
Orla Kelleher, who runs the Aisling Community Center in Yonkers has witnessed an increase in the numbers coming to New York.
“I absolutely saw Irish immigration to New York grow in the past year,” she told Metro.com.
“Until two or three years ago there were more Irish people returning to Ireland than there were people coming here,” said Kelleher.
“But unfortunately, I think a lot of them are finding it was a bad move. There are little to no prospects for anybody to find work there,” she told Metro.com
New York welcomed an influx of Irish immigrants during the 1980s, but a significant number returned to Ireland over the past decade due to the period of prosperity.
However the recent downturn has resulted in high levels of unemployment, especially among young people and as a result many have left Irish shores once again.
“The vast majority of (Irish immigrants) have a college degree or a masters,” said Kelleher.
“And if they do have legal status -- and many of them don’t – they still have to settle for a job in the construction industry. But having work for only two or three days a week is far better than sitting at home at Ireland.”
A recent graduate, 24-year-old Tara Skehan, left Ireland last October to come to New York. A trained accountant, she lives in Woodlawn in the Bronx, which is home to a large Irish community.
“Most people who are recently out of college don’t have a chance of getting a job, not even a part-time job in a supermarket,” said Skehan. “I want to stay here and work for a couple years but if I have to leave America, I’ll go to Australia.”
According to Irish immigration advocates there are as many as 50,000 undocumented Irish in the U.S.
“Some U.S. legislators were shocked the Irish were part of the undocumented community,” said Kelleher.
“We’re a small number by comparison with other communities, but the number of undocumented Irish here is greater than the population of some counties in Ireland.”
With the current wave of Irish emigrants, figures seem set to increase.