Six Irish nationals have been detained for deportation in just the past couple of weeks, according to the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in Queens.
One was detained at a traffic stop in Virginia while two more were arrested on a bus in Syracuse in upstate New York.
“Over the past three weeks, the Emerald Isle Immigration Center has received countless calls from friends and families of individuals who have been detained by Homeland Security and are in the process of being deported,” Emerald Isle said in a statement.
“These are all tragic circumstances and highlight the plight of the undocumented in our community and the urgent need for immigration reform,” the statement said.
Emerald Isle said that until there was change in the law “we should be reminded of the risks our community faces with any travel in the U.S. and with any encounter with law enforcement authorities, including during traffic stops.”
The center stressed that travel within the U.S. was risky for the undocumented.
“That risk increases the closer you travel to the border with Canada or Mexico and especially if you are within 100 miles of that border. The current law permits ICE to demand proof of anyone’s legal status within the U.S. The best way to prevent these situations is to pay strict attention to obeying local traffic laws and avoid unnecessary confrontation with authorities,” the Emerald Isle statement said.
“Many of our undocumented community have entered the U.S. on the Visa Waiver program,” said Emerald Isle Executive Director Siobhan Dennehy.
“What that waiver means is that if you have overstayed, you have waived your rights to a defense for your overstay in front of an immigration judge and that if caught, you will be automatically deported. This applies to everyone who signs that green visa waiver form upon entry to the U.S.”
Dennehy told the Echo that her office was aware of seven arrests of undocumented Irish in the last month, five of them in most recent days. The total number of deportations would reach new highs if the current trend continued
“And that’s the ones we know about,” she said.
Dennehy said that Emerald Isle was encouraging anyone detained by the Department of Homeland Security to contact a local immigration center to get the name of a reliable immigration attorney who will handle deportation cases and be able to make a referral to an AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) attorney qualified to deal with the case depending on the region involved.
“It has been our experience, that once detained a person in deportation proceedings might have to wait anywhere from two to eight weeks before they are flown home,” said Dennehy.
Emerald Isle will be addressing these issues along with the DV Lottery and changes to Drivers Licenses legislation at its annual immigration community outreach meetings starting November 5th at 7 p.m. at St. Barnabas Cafeteria on 413 E. 241st/McLean Ave. Details on the Emerald Isle website www.eiic.org or by calling (718)478-5502 Ext. 206