STATEMENT BY MICHAEL D HIGGINS TD
Irish Labour Party President and Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs
Friday, 29 June 2007
POLITICAL PRESSURE MUST BE MAINTAINED ON BEHALF OF UNDOCUMENTED IRISH
Labour Party President and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Michael D Higgins TD, has expressed sincere disappointment at last night's US Senate vote that saw the proposal to debate a new Immigration Reform Bill defeated by seven votes.
Deputy Higgins commented, "Last night's decision not even to debate the reform proposals comes as a real setback for all those who have campaigned to legalise the status of the many thousands of undocumented Irish living, working and raising families in the United States.
"These people make a significant contribution to the US economy, yet enjoy no security of status or the ability to return home to visit their wider families.
"I am therefore calling on the Government and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, in particular, to continue to press their American counterparts for a new deal for the undocumented Irish.
"The Labour Party has long supported the main elements of the original Kennedy/McCain initiative and we continue to support all efforts being made to regularise the status of the estimated 30,000 Irish people in the United States who find themselves in this position.
"The political pressure must be maintained and I will continue to raise this issue with US authorities and representatives at every opportunity."