In total, 34 undocumented Irish were deported from the US in 2017.
A 19-year-old Irish-born man is being held for deportation from the US, having overstayed his 90-day holiday visa seven years ago when his parents brought him to live in America when he was 12-years-old.
Although both of Galway-born Dylan O’Riordan’s parents have green cards, having lived in Massachusetts before his birth, he was not authorized to live in the US when he moved with his family in 2010. O’Riordan is now detained in Suffolk County House of Corrections awaiting deportation back to Ireland, despite being married and having a young daughter in the US.
Mexicans, Central Americans and Haitians make up 9 out of 10 people removed from the U.S., but year-end figures show that deportations to the rest of the world have jumped 24 percent. https://t.co/GKkOzgdbh7— NPR (@NPR) January 22, 2018
Throughout his presidential campaign, President Trump promised that he would ramp up the deportation of the undocumented, with a particular focus on those who had committed crimes. While the number of deportations among the Irish community is low when compared to Mexicans, Central Americans Haitians, etc., the number of Irish detained by ICE in 2017 jumped to 34 compared to 26 in 2016.
O’Riordan was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents as he left a holding cell four months ago. He had been arrested after having an argument with his girlfriend Brenna in a shopping mall when a woman called the police claiming that O'Riordan was guilty of domestic abuse.
"It was nothing at all," he told NPR. "Some woman called the cops, said I was abusing my girlfriend."
"I was aware how with Trump immigration was going to get a lot harder, but I didn't pay as much mind to it as I should have, which was my first mistake.”
While Brenna, with whom he has a daughter, refused to file charges and the county chose not to prosecute, somebody at the courthouse is believed to have informed ICE of O’Riordan’s undocumented status and they were waiting for him when he was released.
As the 19-year-old had overstayed a holiday visa, he was not entitled to a trial and is subject to deportation from the US without any immigration hearing. A month ago, O’Riordan married his girlfriend in the jail chapel. She now intends to move to Ireland after he is deported later this week. The couple hope their marriage will eventually allow O’Riordan to successfully apply for a green card.
"Dylan O'Riordan ... overstayed the terms of his admission by more than seven years. ICE deportation officers encountered him in Sept 2017 after he was arrested on local criminal charges. ICE served him with an administrative final order of removal.,” said an ICE statement to NPR.
O’Riordan is among several high-profile cases of Irish people being deported from the US in the past year. In June 2017 well-known Boston Irish figure John Cunningham was picked up by ICE and deported.
While the Donegal-born Cunningham was initially applauded as a fine community leader and his detainment sent shock throughout the Irish community in Boston, it later emerged that Cunningham had an outstanding warrant issued for his arrest. The warrant was issued in 2014 after he was accused of not carrying out electrical repairs to a man’s home and banking the $1,300 check he’d been given beforehand.
In March 2017, an undocumented man from Galway was arrested by ICE when they carried out a home raid on his address in the Boston suburb of Quincy. He was already due in court to face charges of drunk driving and related charges. Another Irishman, from Co. Antrim, was also held for deportation in November 2017 amid accusations that he was involved in gun-running for the IRA. The FBI investigated the gun-running claims, but found no reason to arrest him. They informed ICE, however, and the immigration authorities arrested him.
According to statistics released by ICE in December, U.S. immigration and customs agents' arrests of undocumented Irish people rose by 30 percent to 34 last year. Despite the rise, this is still significantly below the 2010 total of 53 when President Obama was in office. Of the 17 removals carried out on undocumented Irish people by November 2017, 14 of them were crime related.
O’Riordan’s case brings to mind the plight of the tens of thousands of DACA recipients, known as DREAMers, who were brought to the US as children. They are now facing the possibility of deportation as US politicians fail to find a way to legislate to protect them after President Trump made the decision to put an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by March 2018.
In September 2017, IrishCentral spoke to the father of an Irish DACA recipient who had supported Trump until his decision to pull the rug from under the feet of DREAMers like his daughter, who have lived in the US for most of their lives.
Cork-born Patrick stated, “They [his children] were brought to the country by their parents and they had no choice in the matter … I brought my son and my daughter and I'm responsible for them. They're not responsible for their actions when they were 11 and 12.”
Compared to applicants from countries such as Mexico and Guatemala, the number of Irish applicants for DACA are minimal – Patrick claims that his daughter is the only Irish DACA beneficiary in the of state of Massachusetts. The Emerald Isle Immigration Center based in New York also revealed they have dealt with around a dozen cases.
Is it unfair to deport O'Riordan when his parents brought him to the US when he was 12? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section, below.