Irish immigration groups and Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan are warning Irish immigrants who are undocumented not to return home for Christmas as the Obama executive order documents will not be available until spring 2015 at the earliest.
In a tweet on Sunday Minister Flanagan stated:
undocumented Irish planning to return home for Christmas should contact Irish immigration centre or lawyer to check eligibility to travel.— Charlie Flanagan (@CharlieFlanagan) November 23, 2014
Kieran O’Sullivan, a counsellor at the Irish Pastoral Centre in Boston told the Irish Times that undocumented returning home for Christmas would be making a major mistake.
“I’ve heard from people who are thinking of going home to Ireland for the holidays and family events,” he said.
“We have issued a general note of caution on such travel and the point we want to make is that anyone about to leave the USA should first speak to an immigration attorney.
“Leaving the US carries great risk if an individual does not consult an experienced immigration attorney,” said the pastoral center.
In order to travel to Ireland undocumented would need the Employment Document Authorization (EDA), which will be given out by the Obama administration after background checks and a cleared application.
With that in hand they will need advanced parole, given on humanitarian grounds when the person can show difficult circumstances back home such as an illness or funeral. The rules covering advanced parole will also be issued next year.
At this point there is no definitive date for the issuance of the EDAs and the advanced parole documents, but experts say it will take at least nine months if not longer.
To qualify for the EDA undocumented must prove that they have:
- have a U.S. citizen or LPR (Legal permanent resident) child as of November 20, 2014
- continuously resided in the United States since before January 1, 2010
- are physically present in the United States on November 20, 2014 and at the time of applying
- have no lawful immigration status on November 20, 2014.
Undocumented immigrants with questions can contact centers run by the Irish Apostolate USA, which is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs, in Boston, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Ocean City, Milwaukee, Baltimore, San Diego and Chicago for more information.