McAteer gives cautious welcome to draft US Immigration Bill
SDLP Councillor Declan McAteer has welcomed what he refers to as a hopeful outcome to the long drawn out debates on the issue of the status of many undocumented Irish immigrants in the United States.
Speaking to Newry Times, Councillor McAteer said, “The recent decision of a specially commissioned Senate panel in the United States to approve the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernisation Act 2013 if fully approved by the US administration will offer an opportunity to the many thousands of Irish immigrants in America to attain legal status.”
“The SDLP has been a long time fully committed supporter of the many Catholic institutions that have lobbied so strenuously on behalf of the 40,000 – 45,000 illegal emigrants from Ireland that continue to live in fear as result of the current US immigration laws and we are also appreciative of the work of other prominent Irish American campaigners for immigration reform.”
Councillor McAteer offered a welcome to one particular aspect of the drafted Bill. He said, “Across Ireland parents and loved ones of the Irish immigrants in America will welcome the fact that those that drafted the Bill attached great importance to the family aspect of any agreed settlement on the issue.
“If the Bill survives the tough scrutiny that it will inevitably face in the coming weeks it will mean that for the first time in generations immigrants will be permitted to return home unhindered on holiday and to visit their loved ones during special family events.
The SDLP Councillor added, “Because of previous experiences when the almost agreed resolutions eventually came to nothing I give the draft Bill a guarded welcome. The next four weeks will be a trying time for all involved but hopefully there will be something positive to celebrate before the 4th July recess date.”
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