Niall O’Dowd to advocate for immigration reform at conference

New York-based publisher will speak on undocumented Irish in US via video

New York-based publisher Niall O’Dowd is to speak on US immigration reform and the undocumented Irish in  a video conference for TDs and Senators.  File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

New York-based publisher Niall O’Dowd is to speak on US immigration reform and the undocumented Irish in a video conference for TDs and Senators. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

New York-based publisher Niall O’Dowd will be among US immigration reform advocates participating in a video conference for TDs and Senators in Dublin on Wednesday.

The chairman of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) Ciarán Staunton and executive director Deirdre Hickey will also take part.

Meanwhile, the ILIR has written to the new US ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley, asking for the three- and 10-year “unlawful presence bars” for undocumented Irish living in the US to be waived.

According to Mr Staunton, the waiver would affect Irish people who would otherwise be barred from returning to the US for three- or 10-years upon travelling outside the jurisdiction.

Mr Staunton said: “There is already a precedent for this waiver in operation at the US mission in Mexico.

“The US embassy in Mexico issued over 50,000 waivers in 2010 to Mexicans who were eligible for the 10-year bar because they had previously overstayed but who wanted to regularise their status in the US.”

‘Parity’ for Irish

Mr Staunton said the Irish-American community was asking for “parity” for Irish “overstays” who wanted to regularise their status in the US.

He said the executive action unveiled by president Barack Obama recently would actually have a small impact on the Irish community in the US.

In his letter to Mr O’Malley, Mr Staunton said: “As the grandson of County Mayo immigrants, this could be a momentous occasion . . . for you and many Irish-Americans.”

Mr Staunton said “ reopening the doors” to the US would allow Irish immigrants to once again “have the opportunity to fully embrace the American Dream, as your grandparents did”.