Majority of Irish support path to papers for undocumented migrants says new poll
2015-08-01 15:01:10 -

By Victoria Prince


Sixty-nine per cent of Irish people support regularisation for undocumented migrants – a figure that rises to 79 per cent for undocumented children.


The figures come from a new public opinion poll commissioned by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland which asked respondents to reply yes or no to the statement: ‘Undocumented people in Ireland should be granted the opportunity to earn the right to live and work in the country.’


On an additional question of whether undocumented migrants in the US – many of whom are Irish – should have the chance to earn the right to live and work there, 84 per cent of those polled agreed that they should.


MRCI communications director Aoife Murphy says she was “gobsmacked” by the positive poll results.


“Any time you look at when we put out a story, the comments and the rhetoric that people use can be really aggressive and really un-accepting of undocumented people, just really intolerant of the idea that people should be allowed some way back into the system.”


Murphy says such aggression “is often reflective of people who simply don’t understand what the MRCI is actually proposing”, which is “lots of checks and balances, case-by-case regularisation, so it’s not an amnesty.


“You’re talking about someone coming forward, fitting the criteria and the department criteria themselves, and working their way towards getting back into the system. So, probably quite a slow process, and quite a long one, but the important thing is it would be transparent, and fair.”


Murphy is confident that the poll results would encourage the Government to take notice of the MRCI’s message – especially as it parallels the Government’s own fight to regularise 50,000 undocumented Irish people in the United States.


“Realistically the problem is not going to go away,” she says. “These children are going to get older; their children are going to find themselves in exactly the same situation. There’s no reason not to sort it out now.”

TAGS : Immigration Migrant Rights Centre MRCI United States
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