Senator’s plea for emigrants living in the shadows in United States

Billy Lawless...working on emigration reform.

Galway City Tribune – Christmas is a heartbreaking time for the Irish living illegally in America, according to one of the leading immigration reform activists in the US.

Senator Billy Lawless said the flow of illegals from Ireland to the US has slowed to a trickle in recent years – the big problem is those who left these shores decades ago, and who can’t come home.

“It’s very tough,” said the Galway senator, speaking to the Galway City Tribune from Florida this week.

“My heart goes out to the people who can’t go back to Ireland, and they’re getting older now as well. We had a big influx 20 years ago, and they were all plasterers and plumbers and electricians and tradesmen, the boom was on here as well, and they’re 20 years older now and they’re all married and they have children.

“Their children are American citizens but they can’t claim their parents until they are 21. It’s tough and this time of year particularly, it is really, really sad. They can’t get home for Christmas. Naturally they’d be heart-broken. Home is always home, no matter how long you’re away.”

The Galway senator, who emigrated legally and set-up home in Chicago over 15 years ago, said the number of Irish being deported now under Donald Trump has actually fallen. He said ten years ago, around 50 Irish were deported annually; it was about half that this year and last but the fear is still very really for the Irish living in the shadows.

“A lot of people believe there is a big move on against the Irish; there isn’t. But that doesn’t say that the stress levels and the worry of those living here isn’t as bad as ever, or worse. Of course, it is. We’re seeing in our Irish immigrant support groups in ten different centres in Chicago, Boston, New York and so on, that the stress levels and anguish and fears are heightened because of the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has become so prevalent,” said Senator Lawless.

President Trump, as promised, has moved to close the US borders to legal and illegal immigrants, something that is impacting more on other countries.
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