By Shelley Marsden - 16/04/07
Undocumented Irish living in the US number 50,000. They are invisible to all intents and purposes, and for some Irish parents, who have more than one child who has gone to settle down in America illegally and without a visa, it is difficult to take.
The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) gathered over 1,500 people at the weekend in Jury's Ballbridge Hotel, Dublin, as a symbol of support to stay in America without living with the fear of being deported.
Friends and family of illegal immigrants in the US, as well as TDs and representatives from all the Irish political parties showed up.
Chairman of the ILIR, Niall O'Dowd said that there was a “50/50” chance that the bill would be passed. He said:
"There is a lot going on and there is a lot more going on behind the scenes… I will make that promise today, we are going to win this one and you're going to help us win it."
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, TD, told the meeting that the Government in a gesture of support would be providing an extra $50,000 (€36,897) to the ILIR for the cause.
Said Ahern, "As a nation we can't turn our backs on the undocumented Irish living in a twilight world. I have heard their sad stories at first hand on my many visits to the US.
"And I hear tales of loneliness and separation from their siblings, parents and loved ones. We must do all we can to reunite these families."
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