Fermanagh Councillors give support to 'legalising' US Irish
Fermanagh Councillors, Bernice Swift and Stephen Hugget were among 1,500 people who travelled to Jury's Inn, Dublin on Saturday to show support and solidarity for the campaign being conducted by the group, the 'Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform' for the undocumented Irish in the USA. The seminar was chaired by Neil ODowd, of the ''Irish Voice' newspaper, Ciaran Staunton (ILIR)and invited panel members.
These included the Irish Minister For Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, the Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny Leader,Martin Mc Guinness, Deputy First Minister Designate & PJ Bradley SDLP).
Cllr Swift explained that the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform ILIR was established to ensure there was an Irish voice in the upcoming immigration debate in the US.
"This debate", she went on, "affects some 11 million undocumented people living in the US, 50,000 of whom are Irish. Within that number, we all have friends, and family members who are living and working in the U.S.A..
"Therefore, we are all too aware of their plight and associated factors of being undocumented".
The actual debate on immigration reform is taking place this Spring, while a Bill introduced recently by Kennedy-McCain, is supported by Neil ODowd and the lobby group.
"They will be pressing members of Congress to move on legislation this year", Ms Swift added.
During the seminar we sat with a number of family members from Fermanagh, including, the Rooneys from Killesher, the Murrays, from Derrylin and the Mulligan family from Donagh, all who have sons and a daughter working and living in Queens and The Bronx".
She revealed that she and Stephen Huggett had also met with many other families and heard some heart-breaking stories associated with being undocumented , namely no freedom to fly home for a close family member's funeral, and how one person had to listen to the funeral of her brother down a phone line?
"Happy occasions, such as a brother or sister's wedding, people couldn't attend due to fear of being stopped at Immigration and deported back to Ireland and leave behind the life embarked on in the US? Not to mention Christmas/Birthdays/Christenings?
"The anxiety is felt both home and abroad. Another story was of one young woman who was arrested, uniformed, interrogated, detained, chained, all in a death-row-like experience".
She urged everyone with an interest in supporting the undocumented Irish to help families from all over County Fermanagh affected by this debate and for them to visit the website www.legalizetheirish.org
"Sign your support, thus ensuring the Irish voice is heard on Capitol Hill and help put an end to, 'No Irish Need Apply?!
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