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Justice Minister Says Undocumented Irish In US Need More Protection

Kim Buckley
Kim Buckley

12:41 PM - 15 Jul 2019



The Justice Minister says new legislation is needed to protect undocumented Irish people in the US.

Charlie Flanagan was responding to questions about the case of a Cork man who's facing deportation after he was arrested last week.

37 year old Keith Byrne was arrested near his home in Pennsylvania last week while on his way to work and is now being held at a correctional facility facing deportation.

Mr Byrne went to the States in 2007 under the visa waiver programme and overstayed.

He has since married an American woman, set up a business, bought a home and is the father to three children.

He has no criminal convictions in the states but was fined at home in Ireland when he was 21 for marijuana possession.

His father Jim Byrne says Keith has been trying to get legal status since his visa ran out: 'He's been looking over his shoulder for the last 12 years and I don't want to see him over here struggling to get back to the States because that's where his family is, his home is, his work is. I want to see him coming back here for a holiday and going back to the States when that holiday is over'.

It comes as the Trump administration has begun a clamp down on illegal immigrants.

Thousands of undocumented people were on high alert over the weekend as immigration officials began a sweep of cities with high immigration populations.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan says undocumented Irish people need more protection: 'There is an issue regarding the undocumented Irish across the United States, many of them stakeholders in terms of paying tax for many years, some of the settled with families in the States. I would hope an appropriate piece of legislation may be passed this year'.

 

 



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Immigrants Keith Byrne Undocumented Visa

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