Obama reform would benefit thousands of ‘undocumented’ Irish

Irish Times | Nov 13, 2014

President Barack Obama plans to unveil sweeping changes to US immigration enforcement that will protect up to five million illegal immigrants, including thousands of “undocumented” Irish, from deportation, granting working permits to many of them.

US media reported, citing Obama administration officials, that the president intends to use executive action, bypassing Republicans in Congress, to redirect the country’s 12,000 immigration agents that will benefit millions of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.

Mr Obama’s executive orders are likely to help thousands of illegal Irish living illegally among the estimated 50,000 undocumented.

The number of Irish to benefit will depend on how long they have been living illegally in the US and whether they have American-born children.

Immigration advocates estimate that many of the undocumented have lived in the US for long periods, in some cases well over 10 years, and have children who are either US citizens or have legal residency.

Chicago-based Irish activist Billy Lawless, who has lobbied White House officials at meetings this year, said he hoped Mr Obama would include “immediate discretion” to allow those who have missed family events at home such as funerals to travel freely between the countries.

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