Ministers Welcome Steps on U.S. Immigration Reform
News21 November 2014
The Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D., and the Minister for the Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan T.D., this morning welcomed the announcement by President Obama of changes to the U.S. immigration system.
Pending more comprehensive solutions in the form of legislative action by Congress, the Ministers said they saw the President’s measures as a first step forward which should impact many immigrants’ lives for the better.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D., who has engaged directly on this issue during the last 8 weeks with key US figures such as Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Kerry and the White House Chief of Staff, said:
“Today represents real progress, albeit with further important steps yet to be achieved. I’m happy that the relentless efforts of the Government and our Embassy and diplomatic missions in the U.S. have begun to bear fruit. They have been reflected in an outcome that should make a difference to thousands of our undocumented citizens there.
At the same time, the Government will not become in any way complacent. Some will not benefit from these new arrangements and we will continue to make the case on their behalf. Having now received the details of the measures announced by President Obama, we will examine them closely with a view to ensuring that as many Irish nationals as possible benefit from their application. We will do this, as we have all along, in partnership with the excellent Irish immigration centres in the U.S. whose work my Department will continue to support.
In terms of next steps, it is clear to me that on immigration reform, as President Obama himself has indicated, there is no substitute for legislative action by Congress. I will ensure that through our Embassy and Consulates in the U.S. and through direct political contacts with all sides in Congress, the Government will continue to work to encourage further steps that will reflect the concerns and needs of the undocumented Irish as well as ensuring improved channels for legal migration between Ireland and America."
Currently in Australia to promote trade and diaspora links, the Minister for the Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan T.D., said:
"I visited the U.S. during the last fortnight when I was able to engage directly with many of our undocumented and hear how difficult their situations currently are. Hopefully these measures will provide new hope for many of them and their families in their quest to regularise their status. There is more work to do, but the changes announced overnight represent a good start.
Irish immigration centres across the United States, who receive funding from the Irish Government’s Emigrant Support Programme, will play a key role in providing advice and assistance on this. Our Embassy and Consulates will be working very closely with the centres over the weeks ahead.”
21 November 2014
Notes for Editors
1. Further details on President Obama’s announcement can be found on the White House website and on that of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security here.
2. Ireland’s Embassy in Washington, headed by Ambassador Anne Anderson, works closely with Ireland’s six Consulates General across the United States. The Embassy and the Consulates work hand in hand on a daily basis with Irish immigration centres in a series of locations. These centres are also given direct financial assistance (€1.29 million in 2014) by the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme. Persons or families with queries on these new measures are recommended to contact these centres, a list of which can be found here.