Irish ‘undocumented’ working in the US
A chara, – Karlin Lillington’s article (Business, March 16th) alludes to the fact that 40 per cent of the “Morrison Visas” were set aside for applications from the island of Ireland, and says “those visa tranches continued into a time when Ireland had entered its Celtic Tiger phase”.
The “Morrison visa” was created before the Celtic Tiger existed, and ran for three years between 1991 and 1994, and the set-aside for applicants from the island of Ireland was made as part of the ongoing support for the peace process in Northern Ireland, at a time when the issue of employment discrimination in Northern Ireland was a particular focus of Irish-American political activity, and also in recognition of the high proportion of successful applications from the Republic of Ireland for the earlier “Donnelly Visa” programme, achieved with the active participation of An Post and Aer Lingus.
It is more than 20 years since there has been a preference for applicants from Ireland in the diversity visa programme, with one exception – those born in Northern Ireland are eligible for the programme, whereas applicants from other parts of the UK are not, because of the high level of immigration from the UK in other visa categories.
It is entirely appropriate that the Taoiseach raises the issue of the Irish people in the US that are “undocumented”, not because the Irish are different to immigrants from Mexico and Central and South American countries, but because they are the same, and the rules emanating from Donald Trump’s administration have the same impact on them all, and remind those members of the current administration that are proud to call themselves Irish-American that their actions and rhetoric impact on people just like their parents and grandparents. – Is mise,