Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Questions (94)

Seán Haughey


94. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the progress made in relation to resolving the situation regarding the undocumented Irish in the United States of America, excluding progress made regarding the E3 visa; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53530/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Taoiseach and I have prioritised the issue of Irish immigration in the United States since taking office and the issue of the undocumented Irish remains a high priority for the Government. I have continuously raised these issues in all my interactions with the US Administration and US political leaders. In April, I discussed these matters with the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and her congressional delegation when they visited Ireland. The Taoiseach has also raised the issue of the undocumented Irish during his high level engagements with the US, including during the visit of President Trump this summer. The issue was also raised with Vice President Pence during his visit in September.

The Government Envoy to the US Congress on the Undocumented, Deputy John Deasy, has also worked closely on this issue with my Department, engaging with key US stakeholders. He has met with senior officials in the US Administration and with representatives from the US Congress to discuss the undocumented Irish, most recently during a visit to Washington D.C. last week. He is supported in his work by the Americas Unit of my Department, and our Embassy in Washington, DC. Officials in the Americas Unit of my Department also regularly meet with the US Embassy in Dublin to discuss visa and immigration issues.

In the US, Irish officials continue to engage and advocate on behalf of this vulnerable community. Officials in my Department, including our Embassy in Washington, D.C. and our seven Consulates General across the US, are monitoring the situation closely and are continuing to actively support Irish community groups that work with undocumented Irish citizens. My officials engage with US officials on immigration issues on an ongoing basis, including with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Our Mission network also works closely with the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centres in the US. The Coalition and its members provide reliable and accurate information to any Irish citizen in the US with concerns. The Coalition and its member organisations receive significant annual funding through the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme for their work, including their support for vulnerable Irish and the undocumented. In 2018, over €3 million was allocated to 76 organisations across the US, including the Irish Centres.