Obama took executive action and announced a new immigration plan which should help millions of undocumented immigrants come of 'out the shadows' and protect them against deportation.
It is believed that over 4 million unauthorised immigrants will be part of this new program. These include undocumented immigrants who have been in America for over five years and undocumented immigrants who have children who are either American citizens or legal residents. To apply for the deal would require you to register, pass a criminal background check and be willing to pay your taxes. This allows the undocumented immigrant to apply to stay in the country temporariliy for a period of three years without fear of deportation.
Such a plan may allow for the undocumentated Irish to finally travel home to Ireland to see loved ones, people who have been so fearful of being deported that they have missed funerals, weddings, and other important family occasions.
Vox.com provides a details explanation of Obama's new immigration plan. One of the points made is that President Obama cannot grant immigrants legal status as only Congress can do that. Obama has promised that certain types of illegal immigrants won't be deported for thre years and that work permits will be issued for three years also. However, after three years, if renewal hasn't been applied for, then the immigrant could be subject to deportation once again. This also assumes that the new administration will still be accepting renewals or that the future president does choose to make different decisions and break down all Obama has strived to achieve. For example, if a Republican becomes president in 2016, they could take away all the protections granted to undocumented immigrants and maybe even use current applications to track down undocumented immigrants.
The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform which has continuously campaigned for immigration reform since 2006 has said that it will assess the President's executive order and will hold meetings in the near future to inform people as to what this may mean for them. Let's hope that it is the beginning of change for the undocumented Irish in America.
Obama highlights the 200 years of America welcoming immigrants from around the world and said it 'has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities'. He has acknowledged that the US 'immigration system is broken'. The people effected by this new plan will hope for this new program to be ongoing and this is more likely if a Democrat is elected in 2016.
Also planned in the new immigration program is to make it "easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders proposed."
The finer details of this plan wil unfold over the coming weeks so keep your ears and eyes on The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform's page and your local Irish Immigration Centers for more information as they get it.
View the full speech here:
Find your local Irish Immigration Centre in the US