Undocumented Children

Last week in the Dáil, I questioned An Taoiseach about the estimated 3,000 undocumented children living in Ireland. I called on An Taoiseach to end the limbo these children live, and the restrictions placed on their freedom to life, and to pursue educational, social and work opportunities.

You can read a recent Sunday Times article about this below. You can also watch a video of this here.

Dreamers’ Won’t Be Deported

The Taoiseach has said up to 3,000 undocumented migrants who were born here or arrived in Ireland as children will not be deported but instead get a pathway to permanent residency, writes Stephen O’Brien.

The children, teenagers and young adults are relatives of migrants who arrived on valid work or education visas, but then became undocumented through overstaying or leaving employment linked to an original work visa.

Leo Varadkar was responding to a request last week from Joan Burton, the former Labour Party leader and his constituency colleague in Dublin West.

Burton said there were between 2,000 and 3,000 undocumented children in Ireland, some now young adults, who had been born to workers who came to Ireland during the economic boom.

“I would like to think that we could agree to offer a pathway to citizenship to these children, who have been left in limbo,” she said.

“Some of these children are now adults, others are in school and their rights to almost any kind of services in Ireland depend on the goodwill of the state. I would like the taoiseach to consider giving these children legal rights to become Irish citizens, a pathway similar to our proposals to America.”

The taoiseach said the government was studying how to “regularise” the situations of this particular group. “I have met some of those young people … They have grown up here and speak with Dublin, Cork or Donegal accents,” he said.

“They will not be deported. It will be correct to regularise them but we just need to get it right. We got it right for the students. We can get it right for those whom Americans would call dreamers.”

Varadkar said the government had recently “regularised” 2,000 people from outside the European Economic Area as well as their dependants, who came on student visas “but became undocumented” for one reason or another.

He added: “This is not an amnesty. It has been agreed at EU level that there will not be amnesties. That is part of our commitment to our European partners. Any time we have a scheme to regularise undocumented migrants, we always need to consult the United Kingdom because it has an impact on the common travel area.”

– The Sunday Times