|IIIC apologizes to Irish intern in New York.|
In an abrupt turnaround, the Irish International Immigrant Center in Boston (IIIC) has apologized to the young J-1 Irish visa holder it turned in to U.S. authorities after they claimed she had worked on a second job. The woman still faces a deadline to leave the U.S.
The IIIC has also undertaken to review their procedures in dealing with young Irish immigrants after others stepped forward with complaints going back years about how they were treated by the organization.
Leading New York immigration attorney James O’Malley alleged that the IIIC has engaged in a consistent pattern of bullying of vulnerable young immigrants over several years. He is now representing pro bono the young woman who was turned in, seeking to prevent her departure.
The climbdown and reality check is welcome after IrishCentral, which employed the girl as an intern, put pressure on the IIIC to apologize and ensure that such an occurrence, where an Irish organization turns in an Irish immigrant after using evidence collected by monitoring her activities, would never happen again.
I want to thank all those who supported our stand and wrote letters and made calls on behalf of the young woman whose only offense was to live her American dream and write about trying to make ends meet in New York, which incredibly was monitored and acted upon by IIIC.
In their statement issued on Friday night the IIIC said:
“With respect to the recent incident in New York involving an Irish graduate on the program, upon further reflection the IIIC is deeply sorry for the hurt and upset that this incident caused the young woman. We recognize that it would have been more sensitive to first communicate with her host organization prior to our taking action, and to provide her with a warning that her unauthorized employment was inconsistent with the program regulations.
"It was absolutely not our intention to hurt anyone.
"The IIIC will perform a full review of the management of the J-1 Irish Work and Travel program in order to determine what changes should be made to ensure that our mission of providing support to Irish students and graduates is properly carried out.”
I hope this puts an end to an incident which revealed an unwelcome side of Irish immigration where emigrants are treated in a hostile rather than a welcoming way by a leading Irish organization heavily funded by the Irish state.
And to Amanda, thank you for your courage in standing up and not remaining silent about your treatment. You have ensured that future flows of immigrants from Ireland will be treated with decency and respect. We will work as hard as we can to ensure you can fulfill your year in America and will have the legal ability to return here in the future.