Fianna Fáil Deputy and Co-Chair of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly Brendan Smith has called on the Government to increase its engagement with the new Biden Administration in the US to ensure further protections for the Undocumented in the United States.
Speaking this week, US congressman Brendan Boyle, who has family roots in Donegal, said that Irish immigration was in decline there and that the US Government needed to restore a legal framework whereby Irish emigrants can enter the US successfully.
Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “I welcome Brendan Boyle’s continued support and I have asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will have discussions at an early date with the United States administration in relation to the need for immigration reform with particular reference to the undocumented Irish following the referral by President Biden of the US Citizenship Act to Congress.”
Deputy Smith: “I welcome Minister Coveney’s commitment to continue to pursue the E3 Visa Bill option which, if passed, could provide access to thousands of US visas each year to Irish citizens.
“Urgency must be attached to this important issue with the new Administration and new Congress in place.
“The links between Ireland and the US have always been strong and our diaspora play a key role in maintaining relationships. It is vitally important that these connections are supported into the future.”
BELOW PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION
FEBRUARY 9 2021
For Written Answer on : 28/01/2021
Question Number(s): 134 Question Reference(s): 4904/21
Department: Foreign Affairs
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will have discussions at an early date with the United States administration in relation to the need for immigration reform with particular reference to the undocumented Irish following the referral by President Biden of the US Citizenship Act to Congress; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Strengthening bilateral relations with the US is a priority for Ireland as set out in our Programme for Government,as wellin our Strategy for the US and Canada 2019-2025. We continue to maintain close relations with Members of Congress and contacts from across the political spectrum, and will continue to seek opportunities to deepen and strengthen our bilateral relations with the new Administration of President Joe Biden.
In particular, we look forward to working with the new Administration, as well as with the United States Congress, across the aisle, to pursue comprehensive immigration reform in the US. We are pleased to see that immigration issues, including regarding pathways to citizenship, are a priority for the new US President, as demonstrated by the proposed US Citizenship Act of 2021. We will actively engage with the new Administration and Congress on this particular initiative, including through our Embassy in Washington, DC.
The issue of Irish immigration to the US, particularly the status of the undocumented Irish, has been a high priority for successive Governments and continues to be one of my key priorities. Immigration issues have been raised on an ongoing basis in our engagement with US Administrations and political leaders. I have raised these issues in contacts with members of the previous US Administration and both Houses of Congress, including during my visit to Washington D.C. at the end of September last year.
In terms of securing future pathways for immigration, we will continue to pursue the E3 Visa Bill option. If passed, this could allow access to thousands of US visas each year to Irish citizens, providing new opportunities to live and work in the US. Now that the new Administration and new Congress is in place, we will seek the reintroduction of the Bill at the earliest opportunity.