Government Announces $50,000 For Irish Undocumented
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, T.D., today announced that the Government is to provide an additional $50,000 to the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, which is campaigning for the undocumented Irish in the United States.
Speaking in advance of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform public meeting in Dublin tomorrow (Saturday), the Minister said the additional money will bring the total Government funding of ILIR to $133,000 since its establishment in December 2005.
The Minister said:
“Since becoming Minister for Foreign Affairs, I have insisted that finding a resolution to the situation facing the undocumented be a key priority for my Department. I have repeatedly stressed the urgency of this issue in all my contacts with members of Congress and with the US Administration. During our visit to Washington last month, the Taoiseach and I placed the plight of the undocumented at the very top of our agenda in our meetings with President Bush and the key leaders in Congress. We also stressed the hardship experienced by so many families in Ireland when their relatives are unable to return home for important family events. The Taoiseach and I were greatly encouraged by the response in Washington and we believe that the prospects for the passage of a bill that would assist the undocumented are better now than at any stage in over fifteen years”.
"As a nation we can't turn our backs on the undocumented Irish living in a twilight world in the United States. Many of these people have set up home and have deep roots in the US, raising children and contributing to their community. I have heard their sad stories at first hand on my many visits to the US. Tomorrow I will hear tales of loneliness and separation from their siblings, parents and loved ones. We must do all we can to reunite these families."
“Over the past ten years, the Government has also dramatically increased funding to those organisations in the US who assist the most vulnerable Irish immigrants, including the undocumented. Last year, these groups received almost $1.3million in Government funding and a further significant allocation will shortly be announced. I am particularly proud of the structured and strategic approach to our emigrants implemented by this Government and look forward to further strengthening and deepening this commitment in the years to come”.
Paying warm tribute to ILIR and the thousands of undocumented, the Minister said that “in a relatively short period of time, they have made a lasting positive impression on some of the most powerful and influential politicians in America and, working closely with the Government, greatly advanced the cause of comprehensive immigration reform”. Top