Undocumented migrants call for regularisation

People both sides of Atlantic ask Government for support in short documentary

According to the MRCI, there are 20,000-26,000 undocumented migrants living in Ireland. Of these, 21 per cent have been here for more than 10 years. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

According to the MRCI, there are 20,000-26,000 undocumented migrants living in Ireland. Of these, 21 per cent have been here for more than 10 years. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Undocumented migrants on both sides of the Atlantic have called on the Government to introduce regularisation for those living in Ireland undocumented.

Regularisation is a process used by governments to afford undocumented persons the opportunity to legalise their immigration status.

Speaking in a short documentary produced by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), Patrick from Cork calls on the Government to support the thousands of undocumented people living in Ireland as well as the 50,000 undocumented Irish immigrants in the US.

Patrick has worked in construction in New York for 12 years and is one of the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in the US.

“There’s a constant fear, even though I have a good job and a lot of things are going good for me, I still worry about simple things like my sisters having kids and stuff . . . never being able to see them,” says Patrick. “There’s a lot of moments where even though I’m surrounded by millions of people, I’m just alone.”

“I believe that change needs to start in Ireland with the Irish Government in a way. They have to be able to show that they’re willing to support people coming into Ireland before they can ask for paperwork from other countries to allow Irish immigrants out of the country.”

Marites, who is also undocumented, left her four children behind in the Philippines when she moved to Ireland in 2006. She now looks after children in Dublin and dreams of the day she can return home to her family.

“I came here in Ireland in 2006 bringing my dreams and my hopes to give them a better future, a better life for them,” she says. “It’s not the same at Christmas if you don’t have your family.”

“Patrick and I have never met, but in our hearts we both carry the same hope for 2016: immigration reform on both sides of the Atlantic, so that we can go home and see our families at last.”

More than 10 years

According to the MRCI, there are 20,000-26,000 undocumented migrants living in Ireland. Of these, 21 per cent have been here for more than 10 years while nearly two thirds are aged between 25-39.

MRCI spokeswoman Helen Lowry says the Half the World Away: Undocumented in Dublin and New York short film underlines the heartache of spending Christmas far away from loved ones.

“Patrick and Marites are speaking out on camera for the very first time, and their bravery is inspiring,” said Ms Lowery. “So many Irish families are looking forward to welcoming loved ones home next week for Christmas, but undocumented people like Patrick and Marites have to spend Christmas away from their families.”