Arrested Irish immigrant Keith Byrne has revealed how scared and shocked he was after being arrested and put in the county jail in Pennsylvania
Keith Byrne, the Irish citizen arrested in the President Donald Trump immigration crackdown, has talked of his fear and shock about his arrest. He says he was handcuffed shackled and thrown in a prison cell.
Byrne (37), a Cork native, was arrested on his way to work in a Philadelphia suburb. A married father of three, he runs a successful painting business. He won a temporary relief last week after major publicity over his case, first reported in Irish media by IrishCentral.
He told RTÉ News on Sunday that when he was pulled over by US Immigration officers. He became very frightened.
Byrne told RTÉ News:
"I was very scared at the beginning of course. I guess more than anything else I was just heartbroken. My babies, my wife, my business, my customers, my life. Everything I had worked so hard for was just gone, without warning. I was scared."
"It's good to be home. It's where I belong" he said.
Bryne arrived in the US, in 2007, and married wife Keren, an oncology nurse, in 2009. However, his marriage visa was blocked because he had two misdemeanor pot convictions, both settled by paying a fine.
He described his arrest as "pretty shocking" and says he was "confused" because he had "been fighting for a long time to make things right".
"To pounce on me the way they did, it was pretty shocking. Yeah, I was scared, I was very scared,” he said.
Speaking of his pot conviction he said "It's kind of embarrassing. It's a 14-year-old fine that I paid in court. I don't know what kind of message people are giving out by sending me home over that. I've made a good life over here so; I've paid my penalty".
He stated he has "never hid" in the United States.
"I came here, and I got lucky. I've lived the 'American dream'. Hard work made good luck, so may it continue.
Keith Byrne said his imprisonment in Pike County Jail, Pennsylvania, was "awful".
He told RTE how he was put in handcuffs and shackles and ICE agents "threw him in a cell" and later drove him to county jail, "with who knows who."
As for his future, he says "I'm optimistic. I'm hopeful. I'm just going to leave it with the law and hopefully, my lawyers can make it happen. I'm just going to keep working hard and keep doing what I was doing."
Byrne said being deported "would be horrible" and that "nothing good comes from sending me home."
Watch the full RTE report here:
Irishman, Keith Byrne who was detained in the US over immigration offences says he was shocked and heartbroken by his arrest pic.twitter.com/DObHpo8C2H— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 28, 2019