Mac Sharry condemns ‘inaction’ on undocumented Irish in the US

Fine Gael – Labour Government ‘have done nothing to advance the case in relation to existing visa waivers’
‘Mexican citizens granted more than 55,000 of these exemptions in 2011’

Sligo News File Online

Marc MacSharry.
Marc MacSharry.

Fianna Fail Sligo-Leitrim Senator Marc Mac Sharry has condemned the Government’s  “inaction and ambivalence to the plight of the undocumented Irish in America.”

Speaking following a recent meeting with the US Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley, Senator Mac Sharry explained, “Notwithstanding the American Republican party’s legal challenge to President Obama’s Executive Order to regularise illegal Irish with American children,  Fine Gael and Labour in Government have done nothing to advance the case in relation to existing visa waivers.

“As a member of the Ireland America Association, I have been working extensively on the issue of the undocumented Irish in America.  We met with Ambassador O’Malley late last month and are confident that he will be able to assist us in providing information to Irish people about how they can qualify for visa waivers.  These waivers would allow people to travel home in certain circumstances without the risk of deportation or a lengthy ban on re-entry.

“Despite knowing about this waiver system, the Government here has failed to provide any guidelines to the undocumented Irish and their families about how they can best apply and qualify for them.   This is a damning indictment of Fine Gael and Labour’s incompetence on this issue.  In 2011 alone, Mexican citizens were granted more than 55,000 of these exemptions.

“I am calling on Fine Gael and Labour to take their heads out of the sand on this issue and proactively engage with the Irish in America to establish if they are eligible for this waiver scheme.  This is not the ultimate solution to the problem, but it will go some way to alleviating the stress on the many families across the North West who have loved ones living in the US who are unable to travel home for fear of deportation.  There are cases whereby families have not seen their loved ones for decades because they cannot leave the States.

“With President Obama’s Executive Order delayed in the courts, Fine Gael and Labour must step up to the mark, be pro-active and engage on behalf of the Undocumented Irish in America.  Their consistent failure to do this is shameful and must be addressed.”