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Undocumented Migrants Hold 24-Hour Vigil of Hope at the Dáil

Date Released: 10 December 2013

Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, undocumented families, children, individuals and supporters will gather outside the Dáil for a 24-Hour Vigil to highlight the plight of undocumented migrants at Christmastime. A candlelit family gathering at 6pm on Wednesday will see undocumented migrants tell stories of their lives in Ireland. “We’re already part of Irish life,” said Justice for the Undocumented spokesperson Allan Danou. “I want to say to Irish people: we’re your neighbours and friends, we care for your children and your grandparents. We serve you in cafés and we shop in your stores.”

Mr Danou continued, “I wish I could be with my children at Christmas, but if I go back then how will I support my family?”

Jayson Montenegro, from the Philippines, will spend his eleventh Christmas in Ireland undocumented and away from his family. “I have been in Ireland through the good and the bad times. I feel Irish I have been here so long. But this is not just about me: it is also about the estimated 30,000 undocumented migrants, including children, who are seeking a solution to their situation.”

The MRCI’s proposed Earned Regularisation scheme would allow undocumented people to come forward, register, pay a fine, and begin to earn their way to permanent residency over 5 years through working, paying taxes and participating in the community. This scheme is very similar to the one currently being debated in the US Congress.

Edel McGinley, Deputy Director of Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, said “Irish politicians have spent years lobbying for regularisation for Irish people who find themselves undocumented in the United States. How can they expect their words to be taken seriously when they continue to ignore the plight of undocumented migrants here in Ireland?”

“Earned Regularisation is a pragmatic, realistic solution to a Celtic Tiger problem.” said Ms McGinley. “Our immigration system is broken, and it’s not hard for people to fall through the gaps. One of our young members has just turned 17 and Ireland is the only home she has known. The Government needs to give workers, families and children the chance to come forward and earn their way to a regular status; it’s the right thing to do, and it’s the smart thing to do.”


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