Regularising undocumented Irish 'not high on the agenda'

Fr Dan Finn, originally from Kanturk in Co Cork, moved to the US in 1962
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.28 7 Apr 2022

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Regularising undocumented Iris...

Regularising undocumented Irish 'not high on the agenda'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.28 7 Apr 2022

Share this article

An Irish priest living in the US says regularising the undocumented Irish there is not high on the agenda.

Fr Dan Finn is chaplain at the Irish Pastoral Centre in Boston, Massachusetts.

Originally from Kanturk in Co Cork, he came to the United States back in 1962.


He told The Hard Shoulder hopes of reform to help the undocumented have been dashed several times.

"I think many people were hoping when President Obama went into office.

"During the first two years there's a great opportunity to name your number one item.

"But he picked healthcare, rather than comprehensive immigration reform.

"With President Biden, I think he's got so much on his plate right now that's not high on the agenda.

"So it's bad, you know, that that is so".

He says while many people have visas or Green Cards, it is still an issue.

"Many people now did get their visa or got Green Cards and citizenships at this point - but there are still many who haven't.

"They're concerned very much about living a normal life like most of us because of their situation.

"The ICE agents that had been picking people up, usually because of one reason or other they draw attention to themselves.

"Then they're put in a special block in the prison and deported after about five or six weeks.

"That's another part of what we do - visit people in prison, we work with the consulate and we help with the communication with their families back home.

"But for others, they're just looking over their shoulders quite a bit.

"And many people have taken out power of attorney, just in case they are lifted, who would take care of their business, their family and so forth.

"A lot of the grandchildren are asking their parents 'Why can't we back home to visit our grandma and grandpa' like so many others do.

"And of course the reason being is if they do, they can't come back again".

'Deported after 50 years'

He says the number of ICE agents making the rounds seem to have died down since the Trump presidency.

"They don't seem to that active up here in this part of the United States at this time, that we know of anyway.

"But back then there were quite a few really who were picked up.

"Even there was a grandfather here, and all he had was a Green Card, and he'd been here probably 50 years or more.

"He employed undocumented workers and one of them was picked up and kind of told a story, so he was brought in and he was deported.

"Imagine after all that time", he added.

Regularising undocumented Irish 'not high on the agenda'

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Main image: Composite image shows Fr Dan Finn and a US passport. Picture by: @IPCBoston on Twitter/Patti McConville/Alamy Stock Photo

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