Nobody should have to make this decision, those where the dreadful words that a good friend of mine had to utter this last weekend. Her younger brother and his girlfriend were tragically killed in a car accident in Co. Kerry on Saturday night. The news was a terrible blow to lose a family member so young it was shocking for her but the unbearable pain for my friend was the most difficult decision of her life should she fly back to Ireland to attend the funeral and grieve with her parents and brothers and sisters?
My friend has been living here for fifteen years she received her nursing degree here, works here and pays taxes she is an Irish immigrant living in America. My friend is undocumented and because she originally overstayed her tourist visa she can not get sponsorship employment through her nursing degree, she has been trapped in an immigration nightmare with no visa available under current law for her.
If my friend goes home to attend her brothers funeral she risks losing everything she has here. My friends mother was the driving force behind helping her to come to a final decision. Her mother begged her not to go that with all that she had to deal with the guilt of my friends situation would have been a tremendous added stress. An extremely painful situation is turned into an utterly hopeless one because there is no time to grieve with family members and loved ones.
This is the saddest part of the immigrants story, the Irish immigrants of the past could not attend funerals in Ireland because you couldn't just jump on a plane and be in Ireland in six hours now the Irish immigrants can jump on a plane but get fingerprinted and told they can not come back. My friend is an avid supporter of ILIR and a very active member she is an ordinary decent person trying to cope with an extrodinary situation. There will be a mass here for her brother and all her friends and family members in America will attend to offer their support. This is the very reason why the ILIR can not fail, these are real human lives affected by this "no visa available for you" immigration policy. I felt so powerless and words were empty and useless there was very little to say or do to ease her pain. However there is something we all can do work harder to get her visa problem solved.