New film shines light on young people growing up undocumented in Ireland
2018-12-01 13:28:26 -
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By Juliette Chantitch

 

A short film on the plight of young people growing up undocumented in Ireland was released online to mark World Children’s Day on 20 November.

This Is My Life was made by the members of Young, Paperless and Powerful (YPP), which was founded in 2015 with the help of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland to fight for regularisation of their status in Ireland.

The movie discusses the main issues facing the undocumented in Ireland — the lack of freedom to travel, the barriers to higher education, and the vulnerability to exploitation in the workplace among them.

“All we’ve ever known is fear,” says one participant in the film. “We’re forced to grow up at a young age and carry this secret. It’s not fair. We’re afraid to open up. We’re afraid to trust. We’re afraid to be ourselves. I want to feel safe in my home, not worrying about the knock at the door. I don’t want to be sent away. I don’t want to be forced from my home. This is our situation. We are undocumented. We’re here and we exist. At home, at work, in school.”

YPP has started a campaign calling for regularisation “so that no child or young person grows up undocumented in Ireland, whether born here or not.”

According to the MRCI, there are “between 3,000 – 5,000 undocumented children and young people in Ireland, who were born here or grew up here. Most have no way to attain stable residency permission, let alone citizenship.”

For Mary Cunningham, director of the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI), YPP is “creative and empowering youth work at its best.”

Over the last three years, YPP has been supported in its work by the likes of Tusla, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Dormant Accounts Fund, as well as schools and communities who have signed their petitions calling for change.

“We’re change-makers, we’re activists, we’re dreamers, we’re here!” YPP says. “The sky is the limit, not papers.”

 

YPP’s short film This Is My Life can be watched at vimeo.com/132984011

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