The family of an American man who was blocked from entering Ireland to visit his Irish wife and three children are outraged at the treatment he received at the hands of Dublin airport authorities
An American father of three was denied entering into Ireland, at Dublin Airport, over fears he was going to overstay his visa, despite having proof from his employer, in Wisconsin, that he planned to return to work.
Ryan Volrath had a return ticket to the US and planned to spend his upcoming birthday with his three sons in County Tyrone.
He told the Daily Mail "I only wanted to visit my family for 10 days, then return to the US where I am employed.
"It was a surprise for my three children on my birthday and I was whisked away without the chance to see them."
Volrath has been separated from his family since last year when his wife Kylie Crawford Volrath (32) was forced to return to Omagh, County Tyrone with their children after she failed to obtain a green card. Kylie had the couple's third son in Northern Ireland.
The couple have three young boys Flynn (6), Foster (3) and Donavon (10 mths). Two of Volrath's three sons were born in the United States.
Kylie, told DublinLive she is "heartbroken" by the situation and disgusted at how Volrath was treated. She told the press he was denied food or water for six hours while held at Dublin Airport.
His distraught wife told DublinLive "He was meant to get a bus from Dublin to Omagh that morning, but they didn't even let him get that far.
"It was at their discretion to refuse him entry and that's all we're left with.
"He showed up with a return ticket, he had an employers letter showing he was returning to work on the 20th September, he had proof that he had enough money to spend while he's here.
"It was his birthday and we had it planned that he would've got here at the time the kids were going to have the cake.
"The idea was that he'd come in and surprise them because they thought they were only going to see him on FaceTime.
"But instead I was sitting there wondering what happened to him and wasn't hearing anything back.
"The worst thing was all my messages were being seen as I was sending them. But immigration had his phone and I wasn't hearing anything back.
"He was held for six hours. It wasn't until three hours later I heard from him."
Volrath was taken to Clontarf Garda Station, just north of the city center, where he spent the night on Sunday before being deported on Monday morning.
His wife rushed to Dublin in the hope of getting an injunction, to prevent him from being deported to the United States. Sadly Volrath was already en route before she could get the papers through the Dublin courts.
Family split by immigration law
Previously Kylie had lived in the United States for a decade. In September 2018 she was forced to return to Northern Ireland when she failed to get a green card.
Volrath had tried to follow his wife and children to Ireland. He stayed with them for four months but was forced to return home to the United States having failed to obtain a spouse visa.
Northern Irish immigration rules state that Kylie would need to be earning over $22,981 (£18,600) per year for Volrath to be eligible to join her on a permanent basis. As Kylie has three children to care for she told DublinLive this was not possible.
Volrath has since been working in the United States and sending money over to his family to support them.
Fight the immigration decision
Kylie protests that the decision of the immigration officials at Dublin did not make sense. He had proof from his US employer that he would return to work and a return tickets.
Volrath's wife also pointed out that working in Ireland illegally is not an option for the US citizen as it would ruin his future prospects of getting an Irish visa, allowing him to stay with his sons.
Kylie has launched a petition to get her husband back to Ireland to see his children.
She told the Daily Mail "It's overwhelming, I'm feeling a bunch of emotions at once.
"While all this is going on, I still have to tend to kids and deal with and figure it out all by myself.
"It's a challenge but one we are prepared to fight."
Lawyers representing Volrath's case said they believe that this hostile environment immigration stance has been implemented by the United Kingdom, given the current Brexit tensions.
Solicitor Sinead Marmion told the Mail "It is hard to depart from the theory that such unwarranted and unreasonable removals are closely tied with the UK's pending exit from the European Union, with the Irish authorities now operating a much more rigid and aggressive regime regarding entry to the North of Ireland, via Dublin Airport.
"The UK's pervasive hostile environment policy is being mirrored in the Irish state. This case, if left unchallenged, would set a very dangerous precedent for future individuals who seek to return home and visit their children and families.
"In light of the reasons we have been provided to date, we remain of the view that the decision to remove Mr Volrath on Monday morning was unlawful and we have firm instructions to challenge the validity of same.
"It is still very much our position that the Irish state's actions have infringed our client's human rights and we have firm instructions to initiate proceedings against the Irish state for his removal.
"These proceedings will seek to have this incident expunged from his records, and to claim damages for his unlawful detention and infringement of his right to family life.'
Ireland's Department of Justice gave the following comment:
"The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service does not comment on individual cases.
"Under the Immigration Act 2004, the question of entry for any individual, visa or non-visa required, is determined by the immigration officer at the time of the individual seeking leave to enter the state."