Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams TD and party Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD have held a series of meetings over two days in Washington DC with political leaders. In the course of their conversations, which have dealt in the main with the difficulties in the peace process, they have also sought support for immigration reform which would legalise the status of the estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish living in the USA.
Today during the Speakers lunch the Taoiseach spoke about this issue. Gerry Adams who was present said afterward: “I want to commend the Taoiseach Enda Kenny on his remarks today in support of the undocumented Irish.”
The Sinn Féin leader said:
“There are an estimated 50,000 Irish citizens living and working in the USA as undocumented citizens. They contribute positively to American society and want to live a full life paying their taxes, and be able to travel between Ireland and the USA without fear of losing their jobs.
I have met many of the undocumented on my travels here in recent years. They are working on building sites, in pubs and restaurants and wherever they can find employment. Their undocumented status means that when faced with a family crisis, like a bereavement, or a more joyous family occasion like a christening or a wedding, they are not able to travel home without fear of being unable to return.
Mary Lou McDonald and I asked those political leaders we met to back immigration reform and to support the efforts of the undocumented to play a full participatory role in US society. “