Senator Mark Daly speaks on the Undocumented Irish

Order of Business

7th February 2012

Senator Mark Daly:     I support the amendment to the Order of Business. I commend the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and former Congressman, Mr. Bruce Morrison. I ask the Leader to organise a debate on the Irish overseas. There has been a push for many decades on the issue and I spent some time on Capitol Hill with former Congressman Morrison and Mr. Kieran Staunton. People are seeking a new visa Bill for the Irish, and Senator Schumer from New York has put forward legislation on the matter. Previously, there was a provision for the undocumented, whereby they would have been able to seek waivers; unfortunately, that will not remain in the Bill.

 I know the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade is coming to the House this afternoon and we will put the issue to him then. A general debate on the undocumented in Ireland would also be welcome, as families are suffering as a result of the inability of people and their loved ones to return from the United States for family events and bereavements. There will be no waiver provision in the Bill. There is an opportunity. The Tánaiste, Deputy Gilmore, is going to the United States next week and he will be there again in March. I assume that the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and the White House would provide a government to government waiver, as they did for Mexico. That is nothing unusual. They allowed 48,000 Mexicans to receive a waiver. That would solve our undocumented problem literally overnight. I ask the Leader to organise a debate, not just today on foreign affairs as he has done, which I welcome, but also on the undocumented Irish in the United States and the provision of a waiver programme. The White House, and the Clintons who are great friends of this country, have simply not been asked. One could ask why that is the case.

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