Although Newry and Armagh Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Boylan has given a cautious welcome to a hinted at US Immigration plan he also is adamant that a pathway to Citizenship must be found for the all the undocumented Irish in America.

Boston's undocumented Irish still await a just solution to their predicament. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Boston's undocumented Irish still await a just solution to their predicament. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

This follows reports that President Obama was preparing to make public his executive action / immigration plan next and that it would include effective legislation for thousands of Undocumented Irish living and working in the USA and currently viewed as illegal immigrants.

He explained "Irish Undocumented parents with American - born children and no criminal record would be eligible for the Obama action which would have a massive impact on the numbers of Undocumented" but he cautioned 

"The Obama plan appears to be specifically aimed at the long term Undocumented who are settled, have roots in America and have no criminal record. Whilst they would receive work permits and be able to seek legal employment, Commentators suggest the right to travel is not part of the plan at this present time . This will be deeply disappointing to many thousands of families. Also there will be stiff opposition to this proposed legislation from many Republican politicians in America"

The Newry & Armagh Sinn Féin MLA said that either way many Irish emigrants not only from this area but throughout the island would not be experiencing the joy of travelling home for Christmas to visit their loved ones. 

"The Christmas period is an especially difficult time for the undocumented Irish in America. Many people from this area have family members living and working in America who they have not see because of the restrictions on travel enforced by their undocumented status. It is imperative that the issue of the undocumented Irish in America and all the hardships that go with such status are resolved in a humane manner. The fear of not being allowed to re-enter the US, where many Irish people have made good lives for themselves, has meant that these people have been cut off from their families and their native country. This has caused much hardship for the undocumented Irish and for their families back home. Return visits, holidays, weddings and even funerals in Ireland are out of the question. This is felt all the more at Christmas." 

The elected representative concluded by stating "The Irish in America must have their contribution to the country's society recognised and their status formalised. We in Ireland have a responsibility to argue their case to a successful conclusion. This wrong affects us all. There will be many sad and distressed homes in the Newry & Armagh area this Christmas because of the continued failure to resolve the undocumented issue and whilst it remains unresolved our families, friends and members our communities are living under the continued threat of being demonised as felons. A pathway to Citizenship must be found for them." 

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