US President Trump has introduced a raft of orders severely cracking down on illegal immigration in the US
The Taoiseach has said he hopes "very minor indiscretions" involving undocumented Irish in the US will be overlooked by the authorities - as President Trump begins a heavy crack-down on illegal immigration.
The new US President has signed a number of executive orders over recent days which will specifically target immigrants.
The much-publicised border wall with Mexico will be complimented by a direction to customs and border agents to immediately deport or detain every unauthorized immigrant caught attempting to enter the country.
The orders also make it easier for unauthorised immigrants to be classified as ‘criminals’ and made a priority for deportation.
In order to police the crack-down, President Trump aims to hire 10,000 extra federal immigration agents and 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents.
The directives also move to strip federal funding from "sanctuary" states and cities that are deemed to be harbouring illegal immigrants.
According to reports from Reuters, Trump is expected to sign a new order in the coming days that will block the entry of refugees from war-torn Syria and suspend the entry of any immigrants from Muslim-majority Middle Eastern and African countries Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen.
It is estimated that around 50,000 undocumented Irish people live and work in the US - many of whom will be watching President Trump’s orders with trepidation.
This afternoon, the Taoiseach said “given the extraordinary contribution the Irish make” to American society he is hopeful the US President will clarify that Irish people living illegally in the United States won't be kicked out over 'minor indiscretions'.
He said that following previous discussion with Mr Trump, he is hopeful that minor issues like parking tickets will not be considered grounds for people to be deported.
“I would hope, when the clarification comes, that very minor indiscretions are not issues that would warrant drastic actions being taken,” he said.
“I made that very clear to the president and to the vice-president and given my information about Irish people who are undocumented and working with the emigrant authorities in the States, I hope that will be so.”
Mr Kenny is due to meet with President Trump at the White House on St Patrick’s Day.
Meanwhile the Chair of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, Ciaran Staunton has said he doesn't believe the clamp down on illegal immigration into the US will impact on the illegal Irish living there.
“First and foremost the deportation issue of criminals does not affect our community does not affect our community,” he said.
“The Mexican border does not affect our community. The sanctuary cities does not affect most of our communities."