Bishop of Derry hopes for US immigration reform


UNDOCUMENTED IRISH:BISHOP OF Derry Dr Séamus Hegarty has called for support for the undocumented Irish in the United States.

In a St Patrick’s Day message, he said that he was particularly conscious of their circumstances. “While hopes may have dimmed that comprehensive immigration reform will occur this year, they have not been extinguished,” he said. “It is only by addressing this issue that people may be brought in from the margins of society, enabling them to integrate and contribute fully to their host community.”

Dr Hegarty, who is chairman of the Council for Emigrants of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, urged the Irish diaspora to work together in the spirit of charity and compassion to ensure the welfare of all Irish emigrants.

Mindful that St Patrick was himself a migrant, Irish people were called to build a society that was truly inclusive. “While the number of immigrants coming to our country has decreased in recent times, our welcome and support for the new Irish living among us must continue unabated,” he added.

“The Irish chaplaincies in Britain, the United States and Australia provide an essential pastoral outreach,” he said. “The ongoing work and engagement with the more isolated and vulnerable members of the Irish community makes manifest the best qualities of our Irish heritage and makes real the example of our national patron.”

He urged the Government to continue to support emigrant organisations, and he also appealed for support for Irish people imprisoned overseas.