I tuned into an interesting debate on the Shaun Doherty Show today, discussing the position of the “undocumented” Irish in America. One caller, from Donegal now living in Boston, detailed how her life in America, without a Green Card, has changed drastically since the tightening of the security-net in America after 9/11.
This is a huge issue which effects members most families in Donegal, and has done for generations. It also raises important questions for those of us here in modern Ireland; we call for greater rights for undocumented (or Illegal, if that’s what you want to call them) workers in America, while the tensions between Irish and immigrant workers here in Ireland continue to deepen.
As part of the campaign in support of the McCain/Kennedy Bill, which seeks to regularise the circumstances of undocumented Irish in America, an organisation called The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform is organising a large rally in Washington on March 8th.
Cllr Dessie Larkin and I hope to meet with representatives of this group when we travel to the USA in March, for the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Philadelphia and New York. The support of public representatives in Ireland for this campaign is vital; both to help the Irish in America, and to learn important lessons for the future of Ireland from the experiences of the USA.