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Foreign Affairs | Support for undocumented Irish in the U.S.

To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent if any to which undocumented Irish in the US can expect to have their situations resolved; the extent if any to which he has had discussions with his US counterparts on the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


My Department is actively engaged in providing support to undocumented Irish citizens living in the United States.  The Embassy of Ireland in Washington, as well as our eight Consulates-General across the U.S., work closely with Irish immigration centres that provide support and information to our citizens, including the undocumented. Many of these groups, including the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers, receive significant annual funding through the Emigrant Support Programme managed by my Department – totalling over €4.2 million in 2021,

I and my officials work closely with the current U.S. Administration, with elected representatives in the House and Senate, and with representatives at the state level, highlighting the challenges faced by the undocumented community.  A key element of this engagement is working to find long-term solutions to address the challenges faced by the undocumented Irish in the U.S.

Notwithstanding that the politics of migration in the US can be challenging, some progess is being made.  This includes a law passed by the Massachusetts State Senate last year enabling undocumented immigrants to acquire a Massachusetts Driving License., with the active support of Ireland’s Consulate-General in Boston.  When this measure comes into effect next July of this year it will improve the lives on undocumented Irish citizens in Massachusetts in a small, but very practical way.

The impact of Covid has been particularly felt by the undocumented, who often do not have adequate health insurance or sick pay. In response, my Department almost immediately introduced a dedicated COVID-19 Response Fund to assist those who were particularly vulnerable during the pandemic.

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