Potential US immigration reform may be delayed

High numbers of minors entering the US from Latin America may cause delays

Charlie Flanagan warned the situation of unaccompanied migrant children entering the US ‘may now impact negatively on the prospects for wider immigration reform progress being achieved over the immediate period ahead’. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Charlie Flanagan warned the situation of unaccompanied migrant children entering the US ‘may now impact negatively on the prospects for wider immigration reform progress being achieved over the immediate period ahead’. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Wed, Aug 13, 2014, 01:02

A recent influx of undocumented minors from Latin American countries may delay the prospect of immigration reform for unaccompanied Irish people living in the US, the Department of Foreign Affairs has warned.

In briefing documents prepared for Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan, the department warned the situation of unaccompanied migrant children entering the US “may now impact negatively on the prospects for wider immigration reform progress being achieved over the immediate period ahead”.

Between October 2013 and the end of July this year, almost 63,000 unaccompanied children, many from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, entered the US illegally.

Concerned that smugglers are encouraging the influx by spreading rumours the children will be allowed stay in the US, the Obama administration has warned they will be deported quickly, a position attributed at least in part to intensifying pressure from Republicans ahead of the congressional midterm elections due in November.

The briefing note states that the prospects for immigration reform as well as a facility for additional future legal migration between Ireland and the US were “particularly uncertain” at present following the recent electoral defeat of the Republican House majority leader Eric Cantor, a development which had made an “already complex political landscape in the US . . . even more complicated”.

“It is generally felt that further time will be needed to assess the full implications of this development.”