Many Irish have returned to Ireland in recent years, a lot of them for thankfully positive economic reasons.
But many have also stuck it out in America despite their lack of status.
Why would they put themselves through such psychological and financial strain we wonder?
Perhaps it is because they see themselves as part of a country that, even as it struggles to deal with a huge influx of immigrants from many lands, still has enough of a friendliness and familiarity to it that it can never be seen as being somehow strange or foreign to newcomers from Ireland.
And that’s the heart of it for thousands of undocumented Irish. When Tancredo, and others who think as he does on immigration, point their fingers outwards, beyond America’s borders, they forget that some who they would see off have been here for so long that this country is now home to them.
With that in mind it is up to even immigration hardliners like the congressman from Colorado to get to grips with immigration reform in a sensible and realistic way.
Yes, some additional Irish will likely quit on their American dream in the days ahead.
But not all will. They are here to stay, to build and to contribute to a nation that would be unrecognizable if not for the contributions of those Irish who came here before them.