The following is a press release issued by the CIIC:
Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers
meet with An Tánaiste & Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Eamon Gilmore
While in New York on U.N. business, An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Eamon Gilmore, graciously took time out of his busy schedule to meet with the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers to discuss the work of the member centers and the issues and concerns facing the Irish diaspora in the United States.
The Coalition highlighted the many issues faced by its member centers on a daily basis and presented on the various services provided by them to the Irish Community including immigration advice & support and social services. An Tánaiste showed an active interest asking pertinent and thought provoking questions throughout.
Immigration to the United States, the difficulties faced by the undocumented Irish and the need for future flow from Ireland led to a focused discussion. With Comprehensive Immigration Reform not on the cards for the foreseeable future, the Coalition asked An Tánaiste for his continued support for both CIR and a solution to address future flow. An Tánaiste is well aware of the issues and stated it as an ongoing discussion point between the Irish and American administrations.
CIIC President Siobhan Dennehy highlighted some the issues that arise from lack of immigration status – “Lack of immigration status is the basis for most of the workload of the Irish Centers across the country. Undocumented Irish immigrants suffer many social issues as a result of living life in the shadows including depression, drug & alcohol abuse, family issues, detentions, deportations and long-term imprisonment. The CIIC appreciates the Irish government’s continued support of the services provided by our member centers to the undocumented Irish and the government’s continued work on their behalf.”
The meeting was energetic and productive and the Coalition is grateful to An Tánaiste for his willingness to meet with them. It shows recognition by him for the important work being done by the centers in servicing the Irish Community in the U.S.
The meeting ended on a positive note and the Coalition is hopeful, economic climate withstanding, that An Tánaiste and the Department of Foreign Affairs will continue to fund and support the Coalition and its member centers as they continue to play an important role in the Irish Community here in the U.S.
The Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers (CIIC) is a national umbrella group for all of the Irish Immigration Centers in the US. The CIIC was established in 1996 to promote the welfare of Irish immigrants in the US at a national level.
The mission of the CIIC is to represent immigrant organizations throughout the United States who are committed to providing services to Irish immigrants. The Coalition provides support and assistance to the various centers in their work through advocacy, education and the exchange of information. CIIC member organizations are located in California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Wisconsin.