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Crowe calls for investigation into immigration case in America

24 May, 2013 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on foreign affairs, trade, and diaspora, Seán Crowe TD, has called on the Tánaiste and Minister for foreign affairs, Eamon Gilmore, to investigate the reports that a Donegal woman was turned over to U.S. immigration authorities by the Irish International Immigration Centre (IIIC) in Boston.

The IIIC, who turned this young woman over to U.S. authorities because she worked in a bar in contradiction of her visa terms, receives substantial amounts of funding from the Government to help immigrants through the Irish Abroad Unit’s Emigrant Support Program.

Deputy Crowe said:

“The IIIC, who received over €320,000 in funding from the Government in 2011, has reportedly turned a young Donegal woman in America over to the US immigration authorities for what seems like a minor transgression.

“The woman was in America legally on a J-1 visa and according to reports she worked in a bar in contradiction of her visa terms.

“There does not seem to be any evidence that she intended to overstay her visa.

“While I of course do not in any way condone and encourage anyone to break the terms of the visa, the IIIC and other Irish immigration support agencies should be helping immigrants, rather than acting as immigration enforcers.

“It is also reported that the girl was turned in after she wrote an article in the Irish Central publication in America, where she was interning, that she had also worked in a bar to make ends meet.

“That the IIIC would reportedly investigate the woman after this article and then turn her into the immigration authorities is worrying. These immigrant groups are funded in order to assist immigrants, not turn them in.

“If the reports are true, it begs the question, what exactly are IIIC spending Irish tax payers money?

“I am calling on the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs to get his department to investigate this case and I will be raising the issue in the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee.”

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