Monday, February 06, 2006

Susanne: An Irish woman in New York.

Every time I talk to people about living in New York as an undocumented immigrant the depressingly repeated question again and again is - why do you not go home? I have so many, many things to say to this that I bowl them over with my response and before I bowl you I will try to compact all of the buzzing words in my head in to this one simple statement: I am home, this is my home, my new home. I and countless Irish immigrants like me are home.

Have people forgotten what America is? Has the idea of coming to America and making it your home dead? What happened to the idea of a coming to a new place to raise your family to begin a life that was once just a hope in your heart?

Economic reasons are not the defining reasons why people emigrate, it most definitely once was a big motivation but not for all and not for me.

The Irish economy is doing so well and I am thrilled that things have changed in Ireland. However that is not grounds to just pack up and head out of a wonderful life that I created for myself here. The immigrants are not swans that flew south for the winter. We're not going to go flocking home now that it's that bit warmer (economically at least) now.

This is all related to what constitutes a life for each person, the friends you have here, the networking you have achieved in different areas, in work, in sport. The climate of the country and so many more little things that make your life in America, well your life. It is patronizing to get confused when people stay undocumented and do not move home to Ireland.

It is not a rejection of Ireland to want to live in America, the Irish immigrants I know celebrate their Irish heritage even more since living in America, along with embracing America.

The Irish Americans have shown time and time again that you can quite beautifully be both. So why can't we? Give us the chance we so desperately deserve to be the Irish Americans of the future. We choose this country with passion and sacrifice please now let this country choose us and adjust our status before it is too late and we do tragically go home and the future life blood of that great cultural marriage between Ireland and America will be sucked dry.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have an idea for maintaining "the future life blood of that great cultural marriage between Ireland and America" as you call it; there could be a program that gives several thousand green cards to US citizens, so they can go and live and work in Ireland, bear Irish children, build the Irish economy, retire in Ireland and die in Ireland. I'm not being sarcastic, I think an injection of American ideas, initiative, creativity and drive would be fantastic for the Irish economy, Irish culture and life in general. And it would preserve what you rightly identify as a strong cultural tie between the countries. And wouldn't it be nice to have the flow of blood going in the opposite direction for a change?

Anonymous said...

Not a bad idea a trade deal between the two countries visas for Americans who want to leave in Ireland and visas for the Irish here who are living in America splendid.
Sam

paddy kakes said...

I'll go a step further. Grant visas for Americans currently living illegally in Ireland.